This is part 2 of a 3 part series to guestimate which direction Chargers, GM, Tom Telesco will go in this year’s draft. If you have read part 1 already, then you already know that I should have perhaps waited until free agency to analyze Tom Telesco’s drafting strategies. That being said, I am amending my first round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers. If you want to know who my new selection for L.A. is then look no further to the same article (as I was between 2 prospects).
Now that the air is cleared, it is time to focus on the second round. This is perhaps the most exciting for Chargers fans as Telesco has moved up twice in the last 4 years to nab “their guy.”
2013 Draft: Round 2, Pick 38- Manti Te’o, ILB
The Chargers parted ways with vocal, veteran leader Takeo Spikes in 2013. Telesco felt like he needed to find another leader in the middle of the defense to pair up with the up and coming Donald Butler. So Telesco traded up with the Arizona Cardinals to select the next “leader” of the Chargers defense. After parting with their second and fourth round picks, the San Diego Chargers selected controversial Notre Dame star, Manti Te’o. Telesco was under the impression that Te’o could help improve a Chargers defense that was middle of the road in creating turnovers. By doing so, the Chargers GM passed up the opportunity to fortify the middle of the defense as he selected Te’o over Kawann Short and Johnathan Hankins. Clearly, this was a selection based on intangibles as oppose to real abilities. But you cannot knock Telesco, he really thought he was being aggressive to get the best player available over drafting for need.
2014 Draft: Round 2, Pick 50- Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB
As stated prior, the Chargers defense seriously regressed in 2013, in particular, their pass defense. Telesco addressed the backend of the defense in round 1 of the 2014 draft by selecting Jason Verrett. However, he knew that he needed to add more. San Diego was desperate for edge players. In 2013, the Chargers ranked 28th in the league with 30 sacks. Telesco knew he had to replace aging outside linebackers, Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. So instead of risking the chance of losing out what he felt like was the last impactful edge rusher, the Chargers GM moved up 7 slots as he traded his second and fourth round picks (for consecutive years) to the Miami Dolphins, to pick Jeremiah Attaochu. Telesco was extremely aggressive for the second straight year, as he once again felt like he was getting the best available player for one of their biggest needs. There were better players available at the 50th slot, but most of those players were on the offensive side of the ball and Telesco felt like McCoy was well on his way with his stellar offense.
2015 Draft: Round 2, Pick 48- Denzel Perryman, ILB
The Manti Te’o, Donald Butler experiment was not going as expected. And even though their play was subpar, it was not the Chargers biggest issue. Their rushing game was horrendous in 2014 as San Diego finished 30th in the league. Telesco attempted to address that need with the San Diego’s first pick of this draft (Melvin Gordon). A lot of fans thought he would double down and get an offensive lineman in round 2 to help the running game, and protect Philip Rivers. However, Telesco passed on prospects Jake Fisher, and Ali Marpet to select what he thought was the best player available, Denzel Perryman. The Chargers GM knew he was going to have to move on from Butler and wanted a replacement that could provide some attitude to the defense. Once again, Telesco forgoes need and goes BPA
2016 Draft: Round 2, Pick 35- Hunter Henry, TE
For the second consecutive year, Telesco shocked Chargers fans in the second round with his selection of Hunter Henry. Fans were pounding the tables for the polarizing Myles Jack. Even with the selection of Joey Bosa, the defense needed another playmaker because Te’o was not proving he could be consistent or even stay on the field. Some fans declared that Jack should be the new strong safety of the Chargers, a position that has been neglected since Rodney Harrison. Other fans wanted an upgrade at the offensive line position (Nick Martin or Cody Whitehair). The offensive line, like always, was in flux and needed to be addressed to help Melvin Gordon avoid becoming a bust. But once again the Chargers GM dumbfounded fans and selected the best tight end in the draft. Clearly, Telesco was preparing for the departure of Antonio Gates, so even though this wasn’t the Chargers biggest immediate need, it was a pick used to address a future need.
2017 Draft: Round 2, Pick 38- ???
I am sure fans would love to see Forrest Lamp here. But between his combine, and the rumors swirling around (the Jaguars are infatuated with him), I don’t see Lamp making it to the Chargers. I also feel like Telesco is content with the offensive line depth the Chargers have and will look to roll out Tuerk or Clark at the starting right guard slot.
So if you haven’t noticed Telesco tends to go best-player-available in round 2. Also, take another look at his selections in round 2. Notice something? Round 2 is his replacement round. The selections he makes in round 2 usually is to replace aging veterans and under performing players (Te’o replaced Spikes, Attaochu replaced Freeney, Perryman replaced Butler, and Henry replaced Gates).
So where do the Chargers go round 2? Telesco goes secondary. A target could be Obi Melifonwu, but because of his stellar combine, I don’t foresee him getting out of round 1. So it is between a pair of Washington Huskies that Telesco will have his eye on, Budda Baker and Kevin King. Telesco will love Budda’s leadership qualities and his versatility to cover slot WRs. However, the pick is Kevin King. At 6’3”, 200lbs, King fits the mold of the typical Gus Bradley cornerback as he is a tall and lengthy cornerback. Fans will be quick to say the Chargers are fine at cornerback but are they? Verrett has been good but has had trouble staying on the field. The Chargers literally have nothing outside of Verrett and Hayward. The need for 3 quality cornerbacks is imperative nowadays because of how often teams are in a nickel defense. Lastly, King has the speed and range to play safety in a pinch. In fact, he even played safety for Washington prior to last year. So in his rookie year, King can replace an aging Dwight Lowery while giving the Chargers the flexibility to use him as a boundary corner in nickel and dime packages.
So if you are keeping score Tom Telesco’s first 2 picks in this Draft are
Round 1- Mike Williams, Clemson-WR
Round 2- Kevin King, Washington- CB
Please note once again this is not what I would do. This is simply me making an educated guess who the Chargers will select this year based on historical information. So fans, sound off below, do you like these 2 picks? Hate them? Love one, hate the other?