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Top Quotes | Chargers 2023 NFL Draft Weekend

Final Draft TQ

Take a look at top quotes from Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley and the Chargers draft picks' media availability from draft weekend:

General Manager Tom Telesco

On selecting WR Quentin Johnston:

"He's big, strong and fast. That's a good way to start it off as a player. Great work ethic that we love. We know all of these players that are drafted. They're all talented, but once they get in this league, it takes a lot of work to get to where you want to go and keep improving. He has some physical characteristics that we think he can add to our offense in a different role. We're trying to give [QB] Justin [Herbert], our whole offense and [Offensive Coordinator] Kellen Moore a lot of different styles of players to use in different situations. We think he can fit that."

On drafting offensive players in the first round the last three years:

"We drafted a tackle two years ago, a guard last year. I said, 'Those aren't the most exciting picks, but they were needed picks.' You're always thinking about your quarterback. You think about your offensive coordinator — our new offensive coordinator that's here. It's not that we're not going to look at the defensive side of the ball. Certainly, as you're building your offense, we're building it around our franchise quarterback."

On Johnston joining the wide receivers room:

"It's going to be tremendous [for his development]. He can watch what [WR Joshua] Josh [Palmer] went through. I think that's a really good comparison, what Josh went through from college to his first year as a pro. To walk in the room with Mike Williams and [WR] Keenan Allen, it can't get much better than that. He's 21-years-old. He's a young player with just three years in college. He isn't one of these kids that played five or six years with the COVID rule. He's still really young. He has a lot of learning to do, especially at that position. To step in and watch guys who have done it and done it at a high level that are really masters of their craft, I think is really going to help them."

On the long-term view factoring into draft picks:

"It's funny because when we talk about these players in the draft room and meetings, we're talking long-term with all of them. Then, I come in here and everybody wants to know where they're going to play opening day. It's always long-term with these players when we're drafting them, from the first round to the sixth or seventh round. Obviously, there will be a short-term outlook on how they may fit a role early, but after that, as you know, where do we project them three or four years down the road? That's a big part of it."

On if the roster can achieve what last year's did and possibly improve:

"I'll let you in training camp. I'm not talking about moves. I'm talking about what do we really have? We'll see when we get on the field. I think the players, at least that we added today, and players in free agency kind of added a lot more depth to some positions and got some younger players in the pipeline. We'll kind of see how it plays out in July and August."

The scene is set!! Check out where the Chargers front office will be based for night one of the 2023 NFL Draft!

Head Coach Brandon Staley

On S Derwin James Jr. mentioning that he wanted to the team to select a 'dawg' and if WR Quentin Johnston 'fits' that description:

"That sounds like exactly what we want. That sounds like me, sounds like [General Manager] Tom [Telesco], [Owner and Chairman of the Board] Dean Spanos. That sounds like a guy that we want. That fits the description. When you guys meet Quentin Johnston, you're going to know why he's here, just like when you guys met [G] Zion Johnson last year and the year before when you met [T] Rashawn Slater. When he walks in a room, you're going to feel him right away. He's an outstanding young man. He had an outstanding college career, meant a lot to TCU. It was a really fun evaluation to go through with our coaching staff, with our personnel department. Like I said, we're really glad that he's a teammate of Derwin James."

On Henley learning from LB Eric Kendricks:

"What a wealth of knowledge. I think the same for Tuli [Tuipulotu]. They are two of the type of guys that will be able to soak all of that up from [OLB] Joey Bosa and [OLB] Khalil Mack, and in Daiyan's case, from an Eric Kendricks. Kenneth Murray is going into his fourth year playing, so there's a lot of wisdom there. I know that they'll take full advantage of it. I think that they're going to fit really well with our football team."

On drafting two players that participated in the club's local pro day and the quality of football in Southern California:

"I know that Southern California is one of the premier places in the country to play football. I know that the top two players in the Draft are from California. Being here three years — I'm from Northeast Ohio, one of the special places in the country for football — but Southern California, that's taking it to a different level. Since I've been the head coach here, the local pro day has been really good to us. Last year, [DL] Otito [Obonnia] was here. That was something that was really impressive to us, was spending time with him. It's one of those things that's part of the process. These two guys really, I thought, took advantage of their opportunity in that setting."

On 'focusing long-term' with the 'vision' for each player selected:

"That's the whole thing. You're signing a rookie for four or five years, that's the vision. There are different paths for everybody, in terms of how quickly people play and what their role is. Maybe this is what I thought his role would be, and then some things happen and this is what it becomes. You guys have seen it, since I've been the head coach, there are some guys that don't play very much at all, and then, midway through the year after your bye, then they play a whole bunch down the stretch. I think that light goes on at different points for players. This is a developmental game, so we definitely have that long-term path. I think that's why it's important to be connected, personnel and coaching, and really be aligned in your vision for the role and how you're going to utilize them. I think all three of these guys fit what we want in a football player at their positions. That's why we feel really good about all three of these guys."

On 'if there were any position groups that the team was unable to address':

"No, what I liked about this draft is I felt like, going into the draft, that we have a really good team. I thought we were able to just draft players that we felt like fit what we're trying to join up with, create depth and competition at other positions. We didn't take any projections, these guys that we drafted, all seven of them, have proven college production. The production was there, the intangibles were there. I think, from a culture standpoint, they all have toughness, I think that these guys are all football players. It's going to create a lot within our locker room that, I think, is going to be really healthy, in terms of competition and fitting into a team that's already really good."

Check out some photos of first-round pick Quentin Johnston touching down in LA, heading to Chargers HQ, and more!

Wide Receiver Quentin Johnston

On being selected by the Chargers:

"I'm excited. I wasn't really sure who I would be picked by or where I would go. All I knew was that I wanted to go to a team as soon as I can and get to work. I'm very happy and I'm very blessed."

On playing with QB Justin Herbert:

"Great quarterback. I saw the call pop up and I'm like, 'OK, that's a great quarterback to be playing under.' I shouldn't have any problem coming in early and adjusting, soaking up as much stuff as I can from him as far as just football in general. I feel like I need to come in, as a young guy, as a sponge, taking in as much information as I need to. Then, eventually, clicking with the quarterback and gaining that trust from him."

On his first impressions of Los Angeles:

"I like it. I've been in Texas all my life. To kind of step out of that, I feel like this is the best place for me, for sure. As soon as I got off the plane, I'm like, 'Yeah, I can feel it.' Then, I saw my jersey. I met a few people. I'm already liking it."

On the significance of jersey No. 1:

"I feel like that number comes with a lot. A lot is expected of you. If you have that 1, you go on the field and look at a guy with number 1 and go, 'OK, he must be doing something.' I was that number the second half of my high school career. Then, going into college, I was in a good situation at TCU; our top receiver was going out — [Eagles WR] Jalen Reagor — he had number 1, then when I came in, I wasn't expecting to get that number so early. I was like, 'I'm probably going to have to work my way up.' Then, we had a photo shoot. I went to the end looking for my jersey and they said, 'Your name is over there with the 1.' But, obviously, I knew that that came with a lot. It kind of just made me want to fight more at practice, do the little things to show that I deserved to have that number."

Get a behind-the-scenes look at 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston's first day with the Bolts!

Outside Linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu

On his reaction to being selected by the Chargers:

"It's kind of funny. I wasn't even really watching the draft. I was outside with the family, we were all chilling outside. My mom was yelling at me to come to her because she wanted me to go grab my grandma from the car at the front, so she called me, I walked to the front and I got a call and I walked away [laughter]. It was a blessing, for sure. I'm excited to get to work."

On having the opportunity to learn from Chargers OLBs Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack:

"I'm blessed. Coming into the league, that's what I wanted. I wanted the best to learn from, and, man, Joey Bosa and Khalil [Mack]? That's crazy. I'm excited for opportunity. I'm a sponge, so I am going to just absorb all of the info that they give me and just try to get better and make an impact on the team."

On being selected by the Chargers and remaining in his hometown:

"Thank you to the Spanos Family, [General Manager] Tom Telesco, [Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley for believing in me and blessing me with this opportunity. I'm excited to be here. It feels weird to stay here just because I was expecting to leave, go somewhere on the East Coast. My agent was telling me, like, 'Get ready to move, Tuli.' I'm like, 'Alright, whatever.' [Laughter] I'm going to be home, so I'm good to go."

Linebacker Daiyan Henley

On being selected by the Chargers:

"Before I start, I want to say thank you to the Spanos Family, [General Manager] Tom Telesco and [Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley for having me here and keeping me home. That's the biggest thing for me, I get to be home and get to do what I love, in a place that I grew up in. That's big for me."

On the benefit of playing multiple positions throughout his football career:

"Exactly that, just being able to play somebody their positions, be on the opposite side of the ball first. Then, moving to defense, I've been able to see the football through from all types of perspectives. Learning the game that way helps you be more, I guess, capable to do one job because you know so many jobs on that football field. Then, when you take it to an even further extent, it's just techniques, that's really what changes because each position requires a different technique, but the mental, the brain aspect, of that learning, it makes it just that much easier."

On his philosophy surrounding special teams:

"Special teams, if you look at it, it's every football movement all in whatever special teams phase it is. It's like football, but in extreme space. That's something that I got from my old coach — it's football in extreme space. You have receiver movements if you're a gunner. You have linebacker movements if you're sitting there trying to rush, or edge movements — just different types of movements based off what position you're playing and what's happening. I found love and joy in doing it. That's why I was always available for special teams and why I will be available here for special teams because I feel like there's a joy, there's an art to it. That's how I feel about special teams. I plan to make an impact on every down. That means being on the field as a linebacker, being on the field as a gunner or whatever it may be for special teams and a linebacker, that's what I plan to do."

Wide Receiver Derius Davis

On being selected by the Chargers and his emotions upon receiving the call (Question from WR Quentin Johnston):

"It was unbelievable. Teaming up with my former teammate, Quentin Johnston, it's just a blessing. We put in a lot of hard work, early mornings. To have the opportunity to keep playing with a guy like Quentin Johnston, it's a blessing, for sure. I'm super excited."

On his punt return and kickoff return abilities:

"My game, as a returner, I always tell people that I'm explosive. Me personally, I feel like I get the party started. At TCU, there were times where we didn't have any points on the board and I was the first one to score during my return, so I feel like I'm a party starter. Hopefully, I can do that for the Chargers. I know I will do it for the Chargers. I'm just blessed to be a Charger. It's just a blessing."

On his production as a wide receiver:

"At TCU, I produced in jet sweeps. They would line me up in the backfield sometimes. I feel like I'm a player that could go all over. I played outside, inside, went in the backfield a few times. I feel like my game is very versatile. I think that is something that I can do at the Chargers, be a versatile player, come in and make plays when the offense needs it, and just be that great teammate to my teammates."

Offensive Lineman Jordan McFadden

On his reaction to receiving the call and being selected by the Chargers:

"I was super excited. I was sitting there and watching, then, all of a sudden, my phone rings. I was super excited. My family, my mother, she was right beside me, so she was super happy for me, as well. Just a very exciting moment for myself and my family."

On his prior knowledge about the Chargers:

"It really kind of funny, I used to play with the Chargers a lot on Madden; [WR] Mike Williams, [QB] Justin Herbert, all of those guys. Definitely a little familiar with them, but I definitely going to have to invest some time and study and learn a little bit more."

Take a look through some photos of the Chargers 2023 fifth-round Draft pick OL Jordan McFadden, from Clemson.

Defensive Lineman Scott Matlock

On coming from Boise State and joining an organization that features Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore:

"That's the GOAT right there, as far as Boise State is talking. It's going to be an honor to work with him and just be around him every day, being able to pick his brain on his journey so far and what he's learned and experienced throughout his career. It's going to be exciting."

On his style of play:

"I would describe it as being very violent, very physical at the point of attack. Someone that you definitely have to double, and if you don't, you're going to lose. It's going to be good. I'm excited to get to work with the defense and the D-line and help the guys win some football games."

Take a look through some photos of the Chargers 2023 sixth-round Draft pick DT Scott Matlock, from Boise State.

Quarterback Max Duggan

On being selected by the Chargers and joining a team that already features two of his collegiate teammates, Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis:

"There was a lot of excitement. Throughout this process, I feel like I built a lot of good relationships with all of the coaches on the coaching staff and really built up and connected with them in that way. Obviously, you see Q and D.D. go earlier, and there was a lot of excitement to be a part of this franchise, to go out and be in L.A. and be with this group people."

On his mentality upon entering the NFL:

"Just come in and control what you control. Be a sponge. I think that's the best thing about this is that you go into this team, this franchise, and you get to learn so much for people that are so knowledgeable, so talented, have been around it for a long time. Go in there, be a sponge, learn as much as you can, compete, add as much value as you can in whatever way or whatever role that is."

Take a look through some photos of the Chargers 2023 seventh-round Draft pick QB Max Duggan, from TCU.

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