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Senior Bowl Marks New Beginning for the Bolts

With the Los Angeles Chargers picking seventh in the 2017 NFL Draft, here are the 25 most recent players selected with the number seven overall pick.

The draft is the crown jewel of the NFL offseason and the Chargers are armed to once again add a significant playmaker as they own the seventh overall selection.

The Bolts know firsthand the importance of hitting it big with a top 10 pick. After all, the last four times they owned one they landed Joey Bosa (third overall in 2016), Philip Rivers (fourth overall via trade in 2004), Quentin Jammer (fifth overall in 2002) and LaDainian Tomlinson (fifth overall in 2003).

While the front office has been hard at work evaluating talent from the moment the 2016 draft ended, this week's Senior Bowl marks a significant milestone in the scouting process. Right now, all 32 teams are in Mobile, AL evaluating some of the nation's top talent. 

However, this year's Senior Bowl is especially monumental for the Los Angeles Chargers as they usher in the Anthony Lynn era. For the first time ever, Bolts brass gets to see their new head coach in action.

General Manager Tom Telesco is excited to finally get to work alongside Lynn.

"A big part of team building is relationship building," he said. "Obviously, I haven't worked with Coach Lynn before, and we will have some new assistants that we haven't worked with before, either. So I'm eager to see how it works and how they evaluate. You just can't sit down in the meeting room and do it over a couple days. How we work together is gradual and organic where it just grows and grows. It really starts this week. We have had to do so much work the last week or so on staffing that we haven't really sat down and talked some good football about evaluating players"

Few teams have had more success scouting the Senior Bowl than the Chargers. In 2001, a running back prospect out of TCU named LaDainian Tomlinson caught their eye.  Three years later, they came away impressed with a young gunslinger named Philip Rivers, determining he was their quarterback of the future.

While the Senior Bowl doesn't garner the same fervent attention as the Scouting Combine, in a lot of ways it is a better indicator of talent.

"You are able to watch the top senior players in the country practice during the week against top level talent," Telesco explained.  "It is a great evaluation tool for us because of the fact that everybody they are going against are NFL type players. They are all NFL type prospects. Sometimes during the college season, whoever a player's one-on-one matchup is, that player might not have a future in the NFL. So we know that in this game, almost every player there is an NFL prospect.  They all have legit NFL potential to play in the league."

They also get a chance to watch the players in a real practice setting opposed to the drills and workouts they'll undergo at the Combine.

"The practices are run by NFL coaching staffs, which is good for us," the GM continued.  "That is the best part.  At the Combine, we get to meet with the players and interview them, but here we have the chance to actually watch them practice in helmets and shoulder pads. They go through a similar practice they would have at this level, which is invaluable for us. We probably get more out of the practices (at the Senior Bowl) than the actual game sometimes due to the amount of work they do all week. Phil Savage and their whole staff that run the Senior Bowl do an incredible job." 

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