Tom Telesco has had an interesting offseason. He’s already parted ways with Philip Rivers and made his first significant trade since 2015, but Thursday evening could bring another first for Telesco and tread into rare territory for the LA Chargers.
Linked to either a quarterback or a tackle in most mock drafts, the Chargers have barely touched those positions in the first round of the draft since the mid-80s.
The last time the Chargers took a first round tackle was D.J. Fluker with the 11th overall pick in 2011. But that’s not all, because Fluker is also the only offensive lineman of any kind that the franchise has taken since selecting James FitzPatrick with the 13th overall pick in 1986. The FitzPatrick pick came one year after they picked three-time All-Pro tackle Jim Lachey 12th overall in 1985, but FitzPatrick was a disaster and they’ve only selected one lineman since.
That would end today if Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, or Tristan Wirfs are chosen by Telesco in the draft.
And if they decide to go with a quarterback, that too would be unusual. Not as notable as avoiding all five offensive line positions for over three decades because you only get one quarterback to start and Philip Rivers did a good job of that for a long time.
The Chargers drafted Marty Domres with the ninth overall pick in 1969 but didn’t go QB again until picking Ryan Leaf second overall in 1998. They didn’t have a first round pick in 1999 or 2000 and when the 2001 draft came along they had an opportunity to draft quarterback Michael Vick. But they didn’t feel confident they could sign Vick to a contract that they found to be reasonable (back when rookies could negotiate for anything) and so they traded down and picked LaDainian Tomlinson, then getting Drew Brees 32nd overall. That would be a first rounder today, but there were only 31 teams at the time so it was not a first rounder then.
It would be another trade — Eli Manning for Philip Rivers and other things involved — three years later that would land the Chargers only their third first round QB in the last 50 years. The Cleveland Browns have drafted three first round quarterbacks since 2012.
If Telesco chooses Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, or some other QB with a first round pick this year, that too would break the franchise pattern. There are also a lot of other good prospects at other positions and the Chargers need plenty of help.
In the last 20 years in the first round the Chargers have drafted:
- 6 defensive backs
- 5 defensive ends
- 3 running backs
- 2 linebackers
- 2 defensive tackles
- 2 wide receivers
- 1 quarterback
- 1 tackles, 0 guards, 0 centers
- 0 tight ends