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Tom Telesco’s Press Conference Breakdown: Position Depth, Character, Medical & More

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Breakdown of San Diego Chargers GM Tom Telesco’s press conference.

With prospects starting to arrive in Indianapolis for the 2015 NFL scouting combine, many GM’s and coaches reported to the podium for an opening press conference. Chargers GM Tom Telesco took the time to breakdown the team concerns and mentality coming into the combine. Before addressing questions about team needs, he was asked about the things he is looking at as most important during the combine. He explained that the medical records and checks are some of the most valuable pieces that you can take from the combine, alongside with finding out more about a prospects character. Telesco is known as a high-character GM and continues to express the importance he places upon that trait.

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With that said, he are examples of two very exciting, but questionable character early round prospects who might be off the Chargers radar.

  • WR – Dorial Green-Beckham
    • Two marijuana charges alongside rape and burglary allegations resulted in DGB being released from the Missouri football program.
    • “I think the consistent problems for Josh Gordon are going to leak over and hurt his draft stock. He couldn’t keep himself out of trouble, had no structure growing up and didn’t take coaching at Missouri. He’s tall and fast and has good hands, but he can’t be trusted. Why would you take a guy like that before the third day?” — NFC director of personnel
  • CB – Marcus Peters
    • After being suspended for a game due to an emotional sideline tantrum, Peters was eventually released from the team for altercations/confrontations with the coaching staff.
    • “I wouldn’t take him inside the first two rounds. He’s good, but he’s not that good that I would be willing to deal with his emotional issues.” — NFC personnel director

When Telesco was asked if the success of the 2014 rookie class receivers would urge the organization to place a higher value on the position, he dismissed the idea. 

“To me each year is different, so what last year’s receiver class did has nothing to do with this receiver class. But I would agree with you that this is a very good class of receivers, and maybe the advent that so many teams run spread offense and throw the ball so much, we’re seeing more receivers at this level that are much more polished.”

With that being said, he was asked about the positional depth of the 2015 draft class. Here was his response.

“The offensive and defensive lines are very strong, and the receiver group is right up there. I think it’s more than just the first-round receivers. I think they go deep, all the way through the draft.”

It sure sounds like the Chargers will be looking at the depth and value for trench players as a whole. This bodes well for a team that totaled just 26 defensive sacks and ranked 30th with 85 rushing yards per game in 2014. Overall, the Chargers have steadily improved overall on both sides of the ball since the arrival of HC Mike McCoy and GM Tom Telesco.

The current path of the organization was summed up with this statement.

“We’re improving. We continue to add pieces each year (and) we’ll add some more this year. I think we’re working through the process and we’re much further along obviously than when we started, especially on offense and defense with the schemes we run. Players are much more comfortable with what they’re being asked to do and what their roles are. Those are all things that that first year, when (Head Coach) Mike McCoy and myself started, that we really had to put a lot of time into. Now it’s really about repetition and getting better at what we’re doing.” 

Plain and simple, the Chargers staff and organization love the systems on both sides of the ball. To their credit, Philip Rivers has seen a career resurrection since 2013 under the new offensive system. As they continue to add new pieces and increase repetitions, could the team be looking to replace current free agents with rookies of the same traits?

Telesco sees the value in a back like Ryan Mathews

“Ryan is a talented football player and as everyone can probably see, we’re a different team with him on the field with his speed, physicality and his talent level. We’re still discussing some things. We’ll meet with his agent again here at the combine and see where that leads us.”

Despite having Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver, and Donald Brown on roster, the Chargers lack the physical downhill runner to carry the load. Any Charger fan can attest to the fact that while Ryan Mathews is a headache in the durability department, his presence in the game is felt immediately. His 4.4 yards per carry average will reinforce that fact if you don’t agree. Plenty of mock drafts have the Chargers taking RB Melvin Gordon in the first round, but he is a Jamaal Charles style runner who is known for his ability in space, rather than a physical power back. On the contrary, Todd Gurley could fill the physical role valiantly. However, with the Chargers placing a higher importance on medical screening and checks, it could deter the team from wanting to invest a first round pick on a guy coming off an ACL injury. If the Chargers are truly looking for the physical presence to compliment Danny Woodhead, they could find great value in a back like David Cobb or Jay Ajayi on day two of the draft, or Tyler Varga on day three.

Here is NFL network analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s take on this years running back depth.

“It’s the best group of running backs in years,”..“A team like the Chargers can go early with running backs, or wait. I think there are two first-round running backs (Gurley and Gordon) and there could be a handful in the second.”

Here is the schedule breakdown for the upcoming on-field workouts:

Friday, Feb. 20: Specialists, offensive linemen, tight endsSaturday, Feb. 21: Quarterbacks, running backs wide receiversSunday: Feb. 22: Defensive linemen, linebackersMonday, Feb. 23: Defensive backs

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