After the first round of the draft wrapped up, the next day, Richard asked us all to try and come up with something to write.
Me personally, I was still trying to come to terms with what I deemed to be a horrible pick at seventh overall. Emotions turned into keystrokes, and I started to type out an article titled, “A Glimpse Into the Mind of Tom Telesco (or: What in the World is Going On!?!?)”.
Once I got a little bit into my heated drivel, I stopped myself. Sure, a ridiculous, barely-thought-out hot take would have probably rendered a fruitful response, whether the figure is represented well in the views department or comments section, respectively.
I told myself, C’mon, give the guy a chance. And luckily, Tom Telesco delivered. Well...sort of.
I’ll preface the bulk of my writing by this disclaimer I feature in just about every article I write regarding the Chargers’ GM: I’ve generally been a fan of his work. I find myself defending his moves more often than most, especially guys I think are still capable of producing at the level we originally expected them to (see: Jeremiah Attaouchu and Travis Benjamin).
However, that does not mean I love all of his moves, all of the time. I found myself in this situation shortly after Goodell announced the seventh pick in the draft.
The best part of it all: I had just come home when the Chargers were up, and several friends were over when I turned the TV on. Known as the extremely opinionated Chargers fan, multiple phones were out to record what could’ve proven to be a funny moment for the average onlooker.
When asked who I wanted the team to go with, I proclaimed, “As long as it’s not Mike Williams, I’ll be happy.”
If you read “The G-L Review” this past season, my (sort of) weekly series where I summed up my thoughts on all things Chargers, there was one thing I preached all season long. Young talent on the offensive line was needed to not only fill out the depth chart but also to push the likes of big-ticket acquisitions such as Joe Barksdale and Orlando Franklin.
Now, I did not think any offensive lineman was worth the top-ten selection. But in picking a skill-position guy, especially one I considered a bit overrated, I started to fear Telesco had lost sight of what was truly vital to fixing the offense.
I certainly see the appeal with the guy—he’s big, and he makes spectacular plays on those 50/50 balls. Also, an athlete who comes into college knowing he’s going to be a pro yet still capitalizes on his education and graduates in three years should be commended for his dedication and work ethic.
I do think people get lost in thinking that every guy that looks the part is automatically worthy of a Top Ten selection. Williams may be built in the prototypical AJ Green/Calvin Johnson mold, but he certainly lacks the explosive athleticism of the pair and is nowhere near as polished as a Julio Jones.
The selections of Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, though, are incredibly positive on a bunch of levels.
First, offensive line, offensive line, offensive line. When your quarterback is a traditional pocket guy, there is not a single more important position group than the line.
Second...wow! Lamp and Feeney are two special talents. In most drafts, I guarantee you both guys are gone the round before they slid to the Chargers. It just so happened that Telesco went against the grain in a defense-heavy draft, one where a record number of defensive backs were selected.
Third, it’s an incredibly positive sign for Chargers fans that the head coach and general manager seem to be on the same page. In the previous regime, picks really seemed to be scattered all over the place, with many a guy having no real place on the roster (hello, Craig Mager!). With Anthony Lynn and Gus Bradley, we have two guys who know exactly what they want to do, which is to establish a power running game and dominate in the secondary. Rounds 2-6 showed that there is a clear plan as to the future of the franchise under the current staff.
Rounds 2 and 3 did a lot to help justify the Mike Williams selection; of course, with more time in the pocket, Philip Rivers can now test out his shiny new toy. And while I understand most were not satisfied with the clear lacking of defensive talent selected in this draft, just remember that a general manager cannot fix everything in one draft.
In conclusion, the last two years have shown that the Chargers are committed to building the team through the draft. It’s easy to love the young talent flowing in, too, when the team is picking at the top end of every round. Nevertheless, at least the Bolts do not find themselves there year after year, making the same mistakes over and over.
(I mean, c’mon Jacksonville—Leonard Fournette, fourth overall!?!? I thought I had it tough being a Chargers fan.)
Though the last two rounds probably could have garnered superior talent, Tom Telesco left me with more answers than questions after his most recent culmination of work. And with the way the last two seasons—and offseasons—have gone, a subtle sense of stability is all that a Chargers fan could ask for.