It’s an inevitable question every year General Manager Tom Telesco holds his annual pre-draft press conference.
Is this the draft you’ll consider taking Philip Rivers’ heir apparent?
On Monday, Telesco offered the same answer he has since 2013 – there’s never a draft you’re not considering selecting a quarterback. That’s the nature of the position, especially when your team has a quarterback entering his 16th season in the league.
However, while once again answering the question, he stressed how he sees Rivers under center for the foreseeable future for the Bolts. In fact, he hammered home how bullish he is over number 17 going forward, pointing out how the 37-year-old is coming off one of the finest seasons of his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
“(Philip) is playing at a really high level right now, my expectation is he’s going to be here a while,” Telesco said. “I haven’t seen anything different. I’m grateful for each year. I really am. I’m grateful for every year that he’s playing. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t be looking long-term to see what the solution is down the road. But I’m grateful for every year. (If it wasn’t) a career year last year, it was certainly close. I’m very happy with him.”
He has every right to be.
Rivers was firmly in the MVP conversation in 2018, tying his personal-best with a 105.5 passer rating. He completed 347 of 508 passes (68.3 percent) for 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns. Rivers also became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards as he led the Chargers to a 12-4 record and his eighth Pro Bowl honor.
Nonetheless, regardless of any team’s situation at quarterback, the general manager stressed you always need to have an eye on the future at the position.
“You’re always thinking about it,” Telesco said. “Part of my job is I have to look down the road a lot more than the head coach does. Coach is a little more short-term focused. I have to be short-term focused but long-range planning as well. I certainly feel better about our football team right now, but it’s always in your head. It’s a very important position. You want a long-range plan, so it’s always something that’s always going through my head, along with a lot of other things right now.”
So, what happens if the Bolts do select a quarterback in this year’s draft?
“(He’ll) have to wait,” Telesco firmly stated. “That’s what it is. It’s the draft. He can’t go anywhere else. You take the player at any position, he has to come in and win a job number one, and then win a starting role. And if you don’t win a starting role, you’ve got to wait. But you better be working while you’re waiting, though. There’s no scholarship here. You’ve got to earn your spot, and you’ve got to work. That’s part of it.”
In addition to Rivers, Telesco explained that the team is thrilled with their quarterback situation as a whole heading into the 2019 campaign.
“I love where we are right now with Philip and with Tyrod Taylor and even with Cardale Jones,” he said. “But yes, you always have to be looking toward the future. That’s just natural with where our quarterbacks are right now, and with where Philip is. But Philip had a career year last year, and he really showed no signs of descending. We’re very happy with Tyrod to have him here. We feel like we have two NFL starting quarterbacks, and I think that’s important for us right now. We have a good football team, and we have two quarterbacks we can win with. And we also have Cardale who we think has some good developmental qualities that we like a lot. So, it’s a good room right now.”