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Tom Telesco Dishes on Fluker, Analytics and What it will Take to Trade the Third Overall Pick

Take a behind the scenes look at Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco's second day of the NFL Combine.

The first installment in our three-part fan Q&A session with General Manager Tom Telesco at the NFL Scouting Combine.

How do you balance drafting by need vs. drafting the best player available? – Alex Bartlett

Telesco:That's a great question, because you want to get to the point heading into the draft where you don't have to push things.  You can't force things.  That's why we have our draft board in place, because if you start thinking of reaching for a position, it reminds you there are players still available you have rated higher that has a chance to be a difference maker even if it is at a position we don't feel we necessarily have to have right now.  That is kind of what happened with Keenan Allen because wide receiver wasn't a big need for us.  So that is how the draft board helps you, and that's where the rest of the staff helps you, too.  We have multiple opinions and checks and balances, so it's not just a one man show.

Going into the 2016 draft with the third overall pick, would you consider trading back a strong option in order to stock up on picks? – Jason Bernstein

Telesco:Yes, if the right deal was there, we would trade back. But that depends on who is there at our pick, how far back we'd go and who could be available.  How much are other teams willing to give us?  Those are all questions we have to ask ourselves, but yes, trading back certainly could be an option.

If you are looking to trade up or down in the draft, I heard there is a chart that teams use to gauge value. Is that true? – Jabari Silver

Telesco:There is a point chart that some teams use, and we use it a little bit.  We also use a historical chart of what teams have used in the past to move up to different spots in different rounds. We will refer to them both, but in the end, it's really just you and the other GM on the phone negotiating it in about 30-45 seconds. 

Do you plan to keep D.J. Fluker at guard, or back to tackle? – D'Shawn Spence

Telesco:He's a guard right now.  But again, I wouldn't limit him.  Our offensive line is an area we do need to get better at, and we've always said we will put the best five player combination out there.  He can play both right tackle and guard for us, so I would not put a limitation on it and say he will only be a guard.  He can also play right tackle for us, and play it very well.

What are your thoughts on analytics? – Harry McDonough

Telesco:We use it, and we always have. We heavily reference numbers because it is always nice to inject some objective numbers into a very subjective process.  That's what analytics does, and it presents good arguments and counter arguments.  Sometimes our scouting clichés don't hold up when you put a player's numbers into the equation.  But I don't think it's anything new; it's just more complex now.  Gil Brandt did it back in the 1960s and 70s, and Bill Polian used it forever.  It is in our tool box.  We use our scouts' eyes, background information, medical information and analytics.  If you were going to make it simple, those are the four things we use to make our decisions.  Analytics are part of our process, but not the number one part.  It's gotten more complex, and there are portions that we strongly believe in and portions that we don't.  But it is certainly part of our process.

How much scouting do you get to do personally during the regular season for the draft and free agency, and how much is dealing with in season stuff? –Duane Hilliard

Telesco:A lot of my work in season is really based around our team.  I will reserve time to look at college tape. I usually do that later in the week.  I'll also make it out to a college game on a Thursday night or Saturday a lot of the time.  I'm also always looking at our opponents, so I'll evaluate pro players during the year when I get time. It's all about time management, but obviously our team and week to week prep take most of the time from August through January.

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