There haven’t been a ton of splotches on Tom Telesco’s resume when it comes to first-round draft picks since he took over as Chargers general manager back in 2013. In fact, it was probably his first pick in the opening round, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, that fans would say was his worst decision up to this point.
But what’s the next worst after that? Was it Jason Verrett in 2014, or maybe Melvin Gordon in 2015? In my opinion, I think it may be Gordon. Verrett’s injuries, to me, keep him from being a true bust. He was phenomenal when healthy, as opposed to Gordon being healthy — for the most part — and still being a middling back efficiency-wise even though he capitalized on his plethora of goal-line carries.
If the Chargers did the first round of the 2015 draft over again, would Gordon still be the pick? I really don’t think so, and neither does Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport. In his most-recent re-draft exercise, the NFL writer actually has the Bolts passing on Gordon and selecting linebacker Eric Kendricks instead at No. 17.
Here’s what Davenport had to say about the selection:
“This pick was the tail end of the draft-day deal that landed Armstead in the Bay Area and Gordon in San Diego. The running back had a solid five-year tenure with the Chargers that included two trips to the Pro Bowl. But the Bolts bid adieu to Gordon in 2020, and this do-over allows the franchise an attempt a different course.”
“Like, say, addressing an off-ball linebacker position that has been a thorn in the team’s side for years”.
Davenport nailed this re-do as he is correct in asserting that off-ball linebacker has been one of the more frustrating positions on this team for some time now. While the Chargers haven’t put a ton of premium picks into it aside from Denzel Perryman in the second, no one player has truly gotten the job and ran away with it. Enter Kendricks, one of the best all-around linebackers in the league right who is coming off his best season as a pro with the Minnesota Vikings.
“Over five seasons in the Twin Cities, Eric Kendricks has grown into one of the NFL’s most consistently reliable and productive inside linebackers. After a 92-tackle, four-sack season as a rookie, Kendricks peeled off four straight campaigns with over 100 tackles—chipping in nine sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles in his career. His 110 total stops and 12 passes defensed in 2019 were enough to get the 28-year-old invited to his first Pro Bowl.”
In true hindsight, this selection would have likely forced the team not to commit to Kenneth Murray Jr. in this year’s draft but that’s not the worst outcome given the depth that was present in the 2020 class.
But what do you all think? Yay or no for Kendricks over Gordon back in 2015?