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Mailbag: Is the Combine Overrated?

Q: Is the Combine overrated?- Enrique Costas

A:  Yeah, I do think it is a tad overrated, but that doesn't mean it isn't a very important piece to the draft puzzle.  Many believe the Combine is a defining moment for a prospect, and that isn't the case at all.  What a player runs in his 40 or jumps in his vertical leap while wearing shorts pales in comparison to how he played with pads on in the fall.   When it comes to the Combine, many fans get swept away with what they watch on TV.  However, General Manager Tom Telesco says the most important part far and away is the medical evaluation, followed by the interviews.  So the on field testing that many cite as reasons why a player's stock rises or falls actually has far less impact than most think.

Q: Is it possible to re-sign both Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, or must the team make a choice between one or the other?– Bobby Bishop

A:  This was a popular question last week at the Combine, and Telesco fielded a number of questions about Gates and Green during his press conference.  The GM explained that the team does not need to make a choice between the two.  In fact, he said the Bolts met with agents for each player last week.

Q:  Now that the Combine is over, what is our number one priority heading into free agency? – Thomas Bell

A:  The number one priority is finding players who fit the team's scheme.  Moreover, Telesco offered an interesting take last week during his fan Q&A segment about how the draft and free agency are related. Basically, the Chargers aim to fill holes via free agency so they are in position to draft the best players available when on the clock.  Here is what the GM had to say:

"Our draft could be affected by free agency depending on what we do.  We obviously have strengths and weaknesses, and there are needs that we have.  Some we may be able to fill through free agency.  If we don't, then we may have to look through the draft.  But the goal is to get to the draft without having specific needs that we have to fill.  We'd like to fill some of those whether that means re-signing some of our own players, going outside to sign someone from another team or developing our own players.  Then, we go into the draft and take the best players available….(What we look for in a free agent target) number one is fit.  Football is not like baseball where players can go from team to team, and there is no real scheme you have to fit into.  In football, we have offensive and defensive schemes in place. They have to be able to fit into what we do, otherwise it probably isn't going to work out for a free agent.  That is number one, and then after that, it is everything you look for in a player you draft.  We want guys who are durable, smart and tough".

Q: What's the buzz from Indy about what position may be the weakest this year heading into the draft? – Wayne Tubin

A:  The tight end position far and away received the least amount of buzz from the pundits we spoke with.  It wasn't long ago that the top TE prospects were annually top 10 picks while others were selected throughout the first round.  This season, Arkansas' Hunter Henry appears to be the only tight end that has a chance to go on day one, but most draft experts right now think he will go early on day two.  Still, that doesn't mean there aren't intriguing tight end prospects available even though the position as a whole garnered little buzz at the Combine.  

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