I have to admit, the longer I thought about Tom Telesco's 2013 Draft Class, the more worried I got.
I know, not a popular opinion. Also, I love that draft class. However, between D.J. Fluker, Keenan Allen, and Manti Te'o, the San Diego Chargers added some excellent players but lost some speed. Allen is quick, but not necessarily fast. Fluker moves faster than a man his size should be able to, but he could still be described as "lumbering". Te'o apparently played with a foot injury that slowed him down, but seemed slow during his rookie season.
When I heard Telesco, in the offseason, say that his goal was to add speed to the team and get faster, I hoped it wasn't just a smokescreen.
It wasn't. All six players Telesco drafted to the team are fast, or at least play fast, for their position. A race between Jason Verrett and Tevin Reese would draw a large crowd, and now it will at Chargers practices.
I have always believed that good teams find the balance. The balance between old players and young. The balance between slow players and fast. A balanced offense, a balanced defense. These are the things that win Super Bowls. If I were to describe why last year's Chargers team made it to the postseason, I would start by pointing out the paralleled success of older players (Philip Rivers, Eddie Royal, Jarret Johnson, Eric Weddle) and younger players (Keenan Allen, Ladarius Green, Ryan Mathews, Jahleel Addae).
This year, it appears that the team is trying to hold on to that fragile balance of old and young, while improving the balance of speedy and slow. Le'Ron McClain and Vincent Brown have been replaced with faster, more versatile players on offense. Richard Marshall has been replaced by the fastest CB the team could find and Attaochu is crazy fast for that OLB spot.
While I may not have agreed with the trade the Chargers made, and I also don't love the Chris Watt pick in the 3rd round, I can't deny loving the overall philosophy that is going on here. The team should have enough speed and brawn to match up with anyone on defense, and enough to create mismatches all over the field on offense. If the older players don't fall off a cliff this season, the team could find themselves back in the playoffs.