Mailbag: What’s Most Exciting About This Year’s Draft Class?

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Q: What are your thoughts of how the draft went? I liked all the picks that we made. – Kristian Escamilla

A: Every year I go into the draft hoping we draft certain players. I think we all do that, right? Well, this year we definitely got some players I was pretty hyped about heading into the draft. And, not surprisingly, they were the first two picks in defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and safety Nasir Adderley. As I shared earlier today, pundits are noting how both players are great fits for the Bolts’ scheme, so it’s hard not to be excited about this year’s draft haul.

Q: How lucky were the Chargers to land Nasir Adderley in the second round? This was the second year in a row that the best safeties coming out of collage were still available for them! – Kirk Hart

A: Considering many draft pundits had him pegged as a first-round pick, I think they’re pretty fortunate. On Friday, General Manager Tom Telesco told the media that he didn’t know if Adderley would be available when they were on the clock, but they did think there was a chance it might play out that way. In fact, he offered an interesting tidbit that a pulled hamstring at Adderley’s pro day may have helped him fall all the way to the 60th pick:

"It's hard (to tell when some players are going to be picked). The school he's coming — from Delaware — you just don't really know. He could have gone earlier. We're happy that we got him where we did. We did have to sweat it out. This was a player that we really had targeted in a couple of different scenarios, so we did sweat it out at the end. It probably helped a little bit that he pulled his hamstring at the pro day so no one had a true time on him, so you had to use your eyes. That's what you have to do, too."

Q: Ricky, which draft pick should we be most excited to see this year? – John Bush

A: I think that depends on whatever’s your cup of tea. There’s pretty much something for everyone. Like big, disruptive defensive tackles? Well, have fun watching first-round pick Jerry Tillery. Prefer rangy center fielders? You got it in Nasir Adderley. Enjoy watching people get after it in the trenches? Then you’ll likely have your eye on offensive tackle Trey Pipkins. So, you get the drift. Now, me personally? I’m eager to see Easton Stick. I think it’s always exciting when you draft a quarterback, so while I’m looking forward to watching each new Charger, I’ll admit I’ll have my eyes on Stick come rookie minicamp. That’s especially the case after writing this story about how he won over the Bolts.

Q: Who do you believe of the 19 undrafted free agents has the most potential to make the 53 man roster? – Steve Sodarte

A: Oh, I have absolutely no clue….and I don’t think anyone should. This all will be decided throughout the offseason program, training camp and preseason. I learned a long time ago not to have any sort of expectations when it comes to these things because talent always wins out. For instance, based strictly on a numbers game with how many players were already stacked at certain positions, you figured running backs Austin Ekeler and Detrez Newsome in recent years faced particularly long odds. Well, show out and perform like they did, and the team will find a way to keep you around. So, I’m really eager to see who’ll follow in their footsteps and continue the Chargers’ impressive history with undrafted gems.

Q: Do you see the Chargers bringing in a veteran punter? – Finn Duss

A: Telesco constantly says the team is always looking to upgrade the roster, so it’s continually a possibility to add any player to any position at any time. Currently, the team has two young, intriguing punters. The first is Ty Long, who spent the past two seasons in the CFL. He led the league with a 48.3 yards per punt average over that span, including a long of 75 yards. Meanwhile, after the draft, the team announced they agreed to terms with college free agent Tyler Newsome out of Notre Dame.

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