Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Kavell Conner (53) looks to tackle New York Jets running back Joe McKnight (25) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 35-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
With the off-season in full swing, many teams have made moves, looking to sign big name players on the market and the Chargers front office is making their own moves.
With the re-signing of Linebacker Donald Butler, Guard Chad Rinehart, Defensive backs Darrell Stuckey and Richard Marshall along with Wide Receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, the strategy is clear, “Keep team together” mind-set, which in this world of free agency is tough to do … just ask the New Orleans Saints who have pretty much gutted their entire defense and several key offensive players.
Besides the re-signings, General Manager Tom Telesco has decided to dip into the former Colts free agency pool and have picked up two former Colts, Running Back Donald Brown and Linebacker Kavell Conner along with Tight End/Fullback David Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Brandon Ghee from the Cincinnati Bengals while signing their unrestricted free agent, LB Reggie Walker. Telesco making his moves also saw the need for competition for the back up spot to Phillip Rivers, so the journeyman QB Kellen Clemens has made his way to “America’s finest city” and the San Diego Chargers roster.
With the NFL draft coming in May, there is still a few holes and being just under $4 Million under the salary cap, decisions Telesco makes have to continue to be filled with patience and full of smart team calculations. That 25th pick of the NFL draft is there waiting but how will the Chargers attack it. Will they go where they need it the most (Cornerback, Nose Tackle, Wide Receiver) or will they draft the best available player in the round? (http://www.spotrac.com/cap-tracker/nfl/)
Mock drafts from NFL.com have different predictions. NFL writer Charles Davis has Wide Receiver Marqise Lee, from USC, while NFL writer Chase Goodbread predicts Outside Linebacker Ryan Shazier from the Ohio State Buckeyes and two other NFL writers both predict Cornerbacks but they name two different names. NFL writer, Matt Smith predicts Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard and NFL writer Bucky Brooks predicts TCU Jason Verrett. (http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/mock-drafts)
Three of these four predictions focus on two of the three primary “needs” the Chargers have and it then comes down to several things:
1. How they perform during their pro days
2. Their NFL combine stats and interviews
3. The overall career numbers
4. Any lingering issues (off the field, injuries etc…)
5. How the picks before them play out
6. Do the Chargers intend to draft up/down to preserve other picks/make a splash
So with all of this, Telesco has a lot on his plate and with not that much money to go around, it is all about putting together a strategy for the long off-season and he must trust within himself … trust within his vision to bring success to the 2014 season that while the Chargers did make the playoffs, it was by the hair on their chinny chin chins. Not to mention their own divisional opponents they need to compete against, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs who are way ahead of them while the Chargers have the Oakland Raiders constantly in their rear-view mirrors. That doesn’t cover other AFC opponents like the Patriots, Colts and Ravens who also have made splashes during the off-season, so Telesco has to keep the Chargers in the game during the off-season so that he can compete during the 2014 season.
They say that Super Bowls are won during the off-season and the Seattle Seahawks proved that just last year and so Tom Telesco has that philosophy running strong and looks to deliver similar results in 2014.
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