Chargers general manager Tom Telesco: The third round debacle

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Jameis Winston
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Jameis Winston /

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has become a master of both early and late-round draft selections, but still has a problem in one round.

The Chargers were right to extend Tom Telesco, as the team’s general manager since 2013 has done nothing but improve in both draft talent evaluation and quality of free agent acquisitions. Derwin James has been lost for nearly the entire season, but the talent of the depth behind him looking to fill his spot is a testament to how strong Telesco has built this team from the starters to the reserves. Though not perfect, he’s clearly one of the best in the business.

That is, except, in one area: The third round.

  • 2013: Keenan Allen (Pro-Bowl)
  • 2014: Chris Watt (unsigned)
  • 2015: Craig Mager (unsigned)
  • 2016: Max Tuerk (unsigned)
  • 2017: Dan Feeney (ranked in the 70’s at guard in 2018)
  • 2018: Justin Jones (starter, for now)
  • 2019: Trey Pipkins (rookie)

In the first round, Telesco finds legitimate talent in players like Joey Bosa and Derwin James. A round later, he finds Hunter Henry and Denzel Perryman, as well as Uchenna Nwosu, who has looked outstanding this preseason. On Day Three, he grabs anyone from All-Pro Desmond King to legitimately talented depth in Isaac Rochell and Justin Jackson. So what happens in the third round?

Of his seven selections, Allen is clearly the best player. Though a great grab by Telesco, the only reason he had a chance to select Allen was the red flag of injuries. Ever since then, it’s been a reach. Every single third-round draft pick after Allen has been a reach, which is bizarre considering how patient he can be through the rest of the draft.

#Chargers are going to hit a home run in the second round, just can feel it.

Then, we fans can collectively bury our heads in the sand for their third round selection.

— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) April 26, 2019

Was anyone surprised when Telesco appeared to knock it out of the park with the Nasir Adderley selection, only to overdraft a lineman from Sioux Falls? Fans can understand why a team would be interested in Trey Pipkins: He’s a good guy, appears to have high character, and has the desired frame of a starting tackle. Any Chargers fan wants the guy to succeed, and all hope he turns into an elite talent to block for the team’s next great quarterback. But boy has it looked like a reach thus far, which is disheartening to say the least.

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To be fair, Jones looked very explosive against the Saints on Sunday, and could be the first above average starter the team has drafted in the third round since 2013. Feeney has a chance to either rebound as a left guard or become the future at center. But if Pipkins’ recent play is any indication of his future in the league, he’ll end up just like every other Telesco third-round selection.