From Division I to Division I FCS to Division II, the Los Angeles Chargers' scouting staff left no stone unturned during the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.
After back-to-back rounds of defensive picks, the team went offense in round three, selecting tackle Trey Pipkins out of the aforementioned Sioux Falls. In his presser on Friday, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco gave props to his scouting staff for finding Pipkins.
"Our scouts every year go to a bunch of schools you guys have probably never heard of before and may not be on the radar for most people," Telesco explained. "But, he's a known prospect at Sioux Falls. He did what he had to do at that level and he dominated at his level of Division II. He's 6-6, 305-pounds, really, really good feet. He's got long arms, good feet, change of direction and he's really smart. He went to an all-star game against Division I players and really stood out there. It's hard to find tackles that are tall, long and have really good feet; can work, are smart and have some awareness. He has a lot of traits that we can develop. It's going to take some time, but we have a good group he's going to learn from, too."
That all-star game Telesco mentioned was the East-West Shrine Game, which saw Pipkins going up against top tier draftable talent – something that caught the Chargers' scouting and coaching staffs' eyes.
"In the East-West Shrine Game he played some inside (and) played some outside," Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt recalled. "He showed some versatility. He gets his hands on guys and looks like he can move well; his athleticism stands out. When you get a guy who is that size who can move and play like that, it's exciting. We've got a good line and a good group of guys. He can come in and learn from some of these guys and compete. You get excited when you have a young player like this, playing a position that is hard to find, and is that athletic with his size. It's going to be exciting to get him in here."
According to Telesco, Pipkins has "left tackle abilities" as he started at left tackle both his junior and senior seasons with the Cougars. But coupled with his size and technique, Pipkins also has the acumen to go along with it. Smaller school aside, the Bolts believe his mental fortitude will help him acclimate to life in the NFL.
"He is very sharp, squared-away, accountable," Telesco said. "Everything we're looking for. That offensive line room, it's a tough room. You have to have some grit, some toughness, you have to be smart. And you also have to be 6-5,6-6, 300-pounds and have good feet; you need a lot. But he's very mature for a college player. What's great to see is (through) our interactions with him on a smaller scale at the Combine and our scouts' interactions with him at the all-star game, this isn't going to be too big for him."