Taking a deep breath and reviewing the first 3 rounds

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Now that the picks have had time to settle in, my knee has stopped jerking and I'm ready to take a deep breath and look objectively at the first three rounds

I'll start with this, if you had told me on Wednesday that the Chargers could spend their first 4 picks and get 3 top 40 players including two plug-and-play starters, I probably would have called you crazy. Not only that, if you told me the Bolts would secure the #1 RT, #2 ILB, and #2 WR in this draft class, I would definitely have thought you were a little bonkers...but that's what they did. These players were Mayock's #15, #23, and #37 ranked players, respectively.

If you are reading this to see draft grades, look elsewhere, because I think those are ridiculous.

D.J. Fluker

Plenty has already been written on this site about this pick, so all I can say is that he's the consensus #1 RT in the draft, and steps in Day One to replace Clary, and improves the O-Line. Does he help keep Rivers on his feet? Maybe, time will tell. He's possesses the length to provide a step up in pass protection over Clary on the right side, particularly if the short passing game is more of a focus under Whisenhunt.

Much has been written about Telesco calling Fluker the "cornerstone" of the OLine, and I only heard him mention it once. I refuse to believe that a guy who has been working in Front Offices for so long in the NFL actually believes you build an OLine around a RT, and we have to remember he may get nervous in front of the media and draw a blank and fall back on some commonly used idioms.

We can argue all day about value at pick #11, but for a rookie GM, he brought in a surefire starter that improves the team, who started over 30 games on the premier college team in the Nation in the most competitive conference, not to mention winning 2 National Championships. That's the bottom-line.

Manti Te'o

My initial reaction to this pick was to poop a brick...that was uncomfortable. I really didn't like that our new GM was trading away picks to move up, and to be honest that's really my only problem at this point with the pick. Watching Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco discuss this pick, I really like that they completely discounted any of the events that have occurred off the field the last few months for Te'o. They met with the kid several times and clearly thought that there wasn't an issue there.

When you focus on the field, Te'o comes in and improves this team the first time he puts on the jersey. He's a big improvement over Spikes. He won't blow you away with his measurables, although he does stand out in his short area movement skills. His physical skills are replaceable, there were other players in this draft that bring more athleticism to the table, but Te'o brings with him intangibles that many of those players don't have that make him a better "football player."

What it all comes down to on Te'o is that he's not a very risky pick, he may have a lower ceiling than some other players like Ogletree, Brown, or Moore, but his floor is also much higher. He may not ever be mentioned as an All-Pro or even Pro-Bowler, but I see him as an above average starter for this team as long as he wears the Bolts jersey. With the outstanding D-Line in front of him, led by Liuget and Reyes, he can prove to be a difference-maker next to Donald Butler.

Keenan Allen

If you follow me on twitter (@jkvandal), then you already know I am a huge fan of this pick. This is a player that was ranked as the #2 WR on MANY draft boards. Again, he's a player that may not have some of the elite movement skills like some of the other prospects, but we also don't know for sure that he doesn't since he could not participate in the combine. When you watch his film though (do it, you will get excited), he runs great routes, wins jump balls, can block in the running game, and is great with the ball in his hands after the catch.

He has some of the best hands in this WR class, and is probably the most polished route runner. He gives Philip Rivers another weapon and another player that can win jump balls. Many around the league see him in the same light as a guy like Reggie Wayne. I'm not sure he will be able to do everything that Vincent Jackson did for this team, but I think he can do a lot of those things that Rivers has missed since Jackson's departure. At the worst, the team has a WR that provides insurance for the injury-prone Floyd and Alexander. At the best, he could develop into the best WR drafted in his class, and a bargain in the 3rd round.

He's not Tavon Austin, but I like Kennan Allen in the 3rd round WAY more than Tavon Austin in the 1st.


The bottom line

The question you have to ask yourself is, are the Chargers a better team now than they were before the draft? I would say absolutely they are. There are still plenty of holes that need to be filled, the biggest one being at LT. But the only guys that could have fixed that were gone after the 4th pick in the first round, so we can't judge this draft on that. Tom Telesco has other avenues to patch up that hole for 2013, and we need to give him a chance to figure that out. There are also other holes on defense that need to be figured out, and we knew that rebuilding this roster wasn't going to happen in one season.

The guys that Telesco and McCoy brought in have proven production in college and started a combined 119 games (!!!) between the three of them. They all bring a good balance of low risk and decent reward as above average starters in the league, that's good in my book and a big change from that other guy that used to be our GM.

We need to temper our expectations since Telesco and McCoy have only had 4 months with this roster so far, and look objectively at what a rookie GM was able to do. He didn't make any huge mistakes, and he brought in proven football players that will improve this roster. That's a good first step.

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