Tom Telesco has been an outstanding general manager for the Los Angeles Chargers, but some areas of concern have followed him throughout his tenure.
The Chargers are lucky to have Tom Telesco today, a general manager who went from hit-or-miss drafting and overpaying players to building one of the most talented teams in football with great player selections and careful cap management. Telesco is one of the 10 best in the NFL, and with more experience, the general manager could push himself into that upper tier of men who are considered geniuses at running their respective organizations.
However, a few trends have followed Telesco through his entire career keeping him from entering the conversation of the NFL’s best general manager. Though there are more than the following weaknesses, these three are often pointed out the most:
- Tom Telesco can’t draft a decent offensive lineman.
- Tom Telesco is terrible with his third-round selections.
- Tom Telesco can’t beat the New England Patriots.
Here’s how he’s going to break those personal curses in 2019.
The first two involve player development from the 2017 and 2018 NFL draft classes, particularly second-round pick Forrest Lamp and third-round pick Justin Jones. Lamp looked routinely great against the Rams in the Thursday practice last week, often neutralizing their defensive linemen (aside from what looked like miscommunication once) when matched up as the starting left guard. From what most have gathered, he’s solely focused on the left guard spot. Dan Feeney is also competing with him, and has rotated with the first and second units, but has also been getting reps at center. If Lamp becomes the team’s first-string guard, and performs at all like the player coming out of college, then he would become the first lineman drafted by Telesco to finally play well.
— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) August 1, 2019
If Telesco was bad with offensive linemen, he’s atrocious with third-round selections not named Keenan Allen. After hinting at greatness with a future Pro-Bowl receiver in 2013, Telesco went on to take
- 2014: Chris Watt
- 2015: Craig Mager
- 2016: Max Tuerk
with his next three third-round picks. That’s a bust, a second bust, and a third bust. In 2017, Telesco took Feeney, a move that was initially praised or given a positive grade but has not quite panned out thus far. Last year, Telesco took Jones, a defensive tackle who looked to be in need of development and was potentially another draft reach. Well, develop he has, and Jones is not only penciled in as the starting defensive tackle (for now) but is also drawing the praise of the coaches and his teammates, with Brandon Mebane going so far as to say he has Pro-Bowl potential. Could he break the curse of Telesco drafting terrible players in the third round?
The final curse has followed one Philip Rivers for even longer: The Chargers are unable to beat the Patriots. Under Telesco, the Chargers have had three opportunities, with the most recent resulting in a meltdown in Foxborough. If the first two trend were to break, however, the third has a chance to be broken as well. With the help of an improved offensive and defensive line, Telesco may finally watch his team rise to the top of the AFC. With notable additions to the linebacker, free safety, and previously mentioned defensive tackle positions, Telesco may have built himself the championship defense capable of thwarting one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.