Chargers Draft

The draft weakness Chargers GM Tom Telesco must overcome

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 20: Center Chris Watt #65 of the San Diego Chargers is carted to the locker room after an injury in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 20: Center Chris Watt #65 of the San Diego Chargers is carted to the locker room after an injury in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Chargers (again) have glaring holes at one major position group, and it happens to be their GM’s biggest draft weakness…

Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco should be praised for his player acquisitions; after all, the current roster boasts 12 former or current Pro-Bowl players contracted in 2019, nine of which were drafted or brought in under his tenure. However, particularly in the draft, one position has always eluded him: the offensive line. Whether that be due to reaching, poor scouting, or unfortunate injuries, Telesco has never drafted a lineman that has gone on to make a significant positive impact with the team.

It’s not for lack of effort, as five picks from the first three rounds have been allocated towards the line:

  • 2013: T D.J. Fluker, first round selection. No longer with team.
  • 2014: G/C Chris Watt, third round selection. No longer with team.
  • 2016: C Max Tuerk, third round selection. No longer with team.
  • 2017: G Forrest Lamp, second round selection. No NFL starts.
  • 2017: G Dan Feeney, third round selection. 2018 starter, 72nd ranked guard.

Many of these choices were widely praised: Tuerk was the future at center being allowed to recover and learn behind Matt Slauson, and Lamp was one of the 2017 draft’s biggest steals. Outside of the reach with Watt, it’s hard to fault Telesco for making any of the other four selections at the time.

However, the present Chargers’ offensive line consists of only one of those players, and he’s a bottom-ranked player with less than two seasons of NFL action. Waiting for the triumphant return of Lamp has exhausted fans for two years now, and right guard Michael Schofield has played “well enough” to warrant the coaching staff holding off on the former second round pick’s first start.

Personally, I’m tired of watching a patchwork team of low-caliber offensive linemen try and protect the greatest quarterback in franchise history. Telesco has been one of the most brilliant general managers when it comes to late-round talent, but has yet to find a single lineman in the draft that has shown to be anything more than a fine second string player. Here’s what failure to create an elite offensive line did to the Chargers in the postseason:

The Patriots pressure on Philip Rivers has been the key to the first half. No QB has faced a higher rate of pressure than Rivers in a game this season (71%).

No Pressure: 5/5, 100 yards, 1 TD (158.3 passer rating)Pressure: 2/11, 21 yards (39.6 passer rating)#LACvsNE | #GoPats pic.twitter.com/hU97P5sDS5

— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 13, 2019

I hate the New England Patriots, but at least they can put together an offensive line. Here’s how that unit graded in 2018, via Pro Football Focus:

  • LT: Trent Brown, free agent acquisition. 32nd ranked tackle
  • LG: Joe Thuney, third round selection. 7th ranked guard.
  • C: David Andrews, rookie free agent. 7th ranked center.
  • RG: Shaq Mason, fourth round selection. Highest rated guard.
  • RT: Marcus Cannon, fifth round selection. 27th ranked tackle.

Next. How the Chargers could get a quarterback of the future for a third-round pick

One team ran for 19 yards in the divisional round, and the other for 155. One team gave up two sacks (miraculously) on a first half pressure rate of 70.6 percent, and the other gave up none. The losing team went home, and the winning team with the great offensive line won the Super Bowl.

Figure it out, Tom Telesco.

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