Tom Telesco & Mike McCoy can say what they want about “adding players that they think can help the team”, but I have noticed a strange little anomaly in who they have visited lately. It’s obvious that they were looking for a “blocking tight end” to replace John Phillips, as they signed Pittsburgh Steelers TE David Johnson to the roster in March. However, were they satisfied with this? Are they still looking for competition at the position? It’s no secret that Gates & Green aren’t the best blockers, to begin with. They are explosive, and are mismatches in coverage, but their blocking skills don’t exactly jump off of the page.
On another note, the team also signed Kellen Clemens to the roster in March. He actually did pretty well for himself, after St. Louis lost their franchise QB to an ACL tear last season. The move was presumed to be in response to the “parting of ways” between the Chargers, and long-time backup Charlie Whitehurst. Our beloved “Clipboard Jesus” awkwardly left with Ken Whisenhunt, to buddy up with Jake Locker in the weight room, after Ken Whisenhunt “politely jumped ship” to regain his head coaching prowess in Tennessee.
After signing Clemens, Charger fans were (sort of) scratching their heads. I think that some fans expected 2013′s 7th round draft pick Brad Sorensen to take the reigns, rather than sign another back-up quarterback to the roster. Telesco has made a point of saying that he wants to “build through the draft”, and seems to be employing a “youth movement” on the the roster. Furthermore, most fans were elated that Whitehurst was “allowed to leave”, as it saved the team money, against a brutal salary cap.
Whitehurst was given a whopping EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT, for wearing baby blue Titans colors!!! Can you blame him? I would carry a clipboard, and “look cool” for a fraction of that cost. We signed 30 year old Kellen Clemens to a $3 million dollar contract, in response. This is much more reasonable than keeping Whitehurst, as neither of them will probably ever see the field. I have a feeling that the Chargers will, once again, carry three quarterbacks. But, obviously, they are not totally sold on crowning Brad Sorenson the “full time back-up QB”.
You might think that the Chargers just stumbled into Clemens, as Whitehurst was on his way out. However, this was not the case. The Chargers were, and might still be, actively be seeking another quarterback. One thing I have learned, is that nobody’s job is safe, no matter what the deal may be. They might also be looking for tight end depth, as well.
Here are some players that I saw that the Chargers were (or are) looking into, at both positions. They might seem like “weird picks” to you, but did anyone see Brad Sorensen coming? Either way, it’s worth knowing what the Chargers thought that their options might be, even if Clemens & Johnson MIGHT be the final solution.
David Fales, QB, San Jose State:
The Chargers have been looking at a few San Jose State Players, to fill depth on the roster. Nothing that you would expect them to grab in the higher rounds, but they did talk to Fales at the Senior Bowl. He draws comparison to Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, but I suspect that he isn’t as good. However, he does seem to fit the “quick-passing attack”, that the Chargers have employed recently, makes solid throws over the middle, and on short-to-intermediate routes. He also appears to be somewhat mobile, unlike our baby giraffe.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois:
Here’s one that should perk your attention. Garoppolo is projected to go in the second round. With all of the talk of Bortles going in the second, this can’t be just a “depth” maneuver, can it? I don’t think that the Chargers would draft a QB in the second round (because it might trigger mass-suicide), but when I read over his stats, I was more impressed than felt comfortable. I guess Telesco & McCoy were serious when they said that they would sign any player that makes the team better. They interviewed him at the East/West Shrine Game, days before they signed Clemens. He is probably more of a “game manager”, and has trouble making accurate throws. But, he is expected to be an NFL starter, one day. With the right coaching, he could be as good as Alex Smith, or Nick Foles.
Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State:
Here’s one that should slow the “pitter-patter” of your heart down. The Chargers also talked to Keith Wenning, from Ball State (Where?). Anyway, this had the same taste as Brad Sorensen, and Jarrett Lee. I know some of you still carry a torch for Lee, and a lot of you think that Sorensen could be to Rivers, what Brady was to Bledsoe. You will have to hold that one down without me,… and (apparently), without Tom Telesco. He can dink & dunk, but would probably be fighting for a 3rd string job, at best. The Chargers talked to him at the East/West Shrine Game, as well. So, take that for what it’s worth
Now, onto the tight ends….
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa:
This guy seems to be more of a depth guy, but he is “big-framed”, and ready to go in the 3rd to 4th rounds. I don’t anticipate that the Chargers will take a tight end in the first four rounds, but after that… anything goes, right? They talked to him at the Senior Bowl, and he seems to have good hands, and can get open. He just doesn’t get the extra yards. At this point, Gates isn’t getting them either. Most of the passes I saw to Gates last season were “run to the first down marker, catch it, and get tackled” type of throws. Not that this guy is better than, or can replace Gates. But, our organization DOES seem to be able to recognize TE talent.
Gator Hoskins, TE, Marshall:
Having a guy named “Gator” on the team, just seems like a move that TT would make. He loves the “name game”. I’m surprised we didn’t sign Captain Munnerlyn in free agency, and aren’t making a run at HaHa Clinton Dix!!! If I were him, I would wear the boots to match. Oddly enough, he didn’t play for Florida. Despite having such a gaudy name, he doesn’t seem half bad, and should be an early “day three” pick. When the Raiders pick him, I want you to know that you heard it here FIRST on Bolt Beat. I’m not sure if they are looking for a TE. But, from this distance, they could use a guy named Gator in Oak-Town. I guess we might be in the market for one, as well. I can see it now… he will sue Nike over the rights for the “Gator Dance”. ; )
Blake Jackson, TE, Oklahoma State:
This guy is in the top “third-ish” range of this year’s TE class (which is pretty weak). Eric Ebron seems to be the only lock. Jackson doubles as a half back / full back, as do a lot of TE’s. I don’t see any basketball experience on his resume, but it makes sense that the Chargers were eyeing him. They just let McClain go, and their plan seems to be to fill that hole with a blocking tight end, who is also a fullback. They gave him a “how do ya do” at the East/West Shrine Game, regardless of his receiving skills.
Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor:
I guess we could go the ole’ “AJ Smith route”, and give this guy a shot. Seems a little crowded on the roster, at the TE position, if you ask me. But, the Chargers did approach this 7th round / UDFA prospect. I’m not sure he would ever break the number three spot on the depth chart, but it is clear that he excelled in blocking, regardless of his deficiencies in the passing game. If he is hanging around in UDFA, I would expect Telesco to make a run at him, and quarterback Keith Wenning, to keep camp lively…or not.
So, there you have it. Some guys that the Chargers are looking at, that don’t show up on the average draft boards. We know Telesco is cheap, and LOVES to find a bargain. I actually love that about him, as I am a coupon clipper, myself. Why pay for a $20.00 oil change, when you can get someone to do it for $13… all I know is that I’m not changing it… even if it ends up being $14.00. I can take my own oil to the fire station, do you know what I mean?
Don’t be discouraged by the meaninglessness of this article, as there is more “quality content” to follow, shortly. Most of which you will probably write off. Just give me a “thumbs up” when that team ultimately signs “The Gator”, and I will be a happy camper…. because you KNOW you are gonna remember when they pick him!!!!
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