LA Chargers GM Tom Telesco potentially reveals first-round draft plan

Apr 22, 2019; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco at a press conference prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2019; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco at a press conference prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

We are less than a week away from the 2021 NFL Draft and the speculation around what the LA Chargers will do in the first round. The team’s actions will mostly be influenced by the first 12 picks in the draft and there are plenty of directions to go.

The team could trade down, either allowing a team to move up to take one of the skill position players to fall or trade-up if one of the quarterbacks falls to the 13th pick.

The Bolts could even trade up for Penei Sewell if he falls past the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tom Telesco is feeling bold.

Speaking of Telesco, the LA Chargers general manager spoke to the media in a press conference on Friday and said some potentially revealing things about what the Bolts are going to do with the 13th overall pick.

When talking about how the team values position vs. their big board, Telesco said the following:

“We draft players, not posistions, except quarterback.”

A short quote, but a telling one. The debate between taking an area of need and taking the best player available has been an interesting one, especially with where the Chargers are picking in this year’s draft.

That was not the only telling thing that Tom Telesco said.

What else we learned about the LA Chargers draft:

Telesco said more about the offensive line that could be interpreted in one of two ways. First, Telesco said that the team is still bullish on Trey Pipkins and likes the progressions that he made at the end of last season. Pipkins is entering his third season in the league and has not been great in the chances he does get.

#Chargers GM Tom Telesco says that even though Trey Pipkins doesn’t have a lot of experience at left tackle he says he has confidence in him, “we’re bullish on Trey Pipkins.”

He added he liked how Pipkins finished the season.

— Fernando Ramirez (@RealFRamirez) April 23, 2021

Telesco did take Pipkins in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, so perhaps he views him in a different lens and does not want the pick to fail. I think every Charger fan can agree that thus far Pipkins has not shown enough to be trusted to be the left tackle.

Telesco also noted in the press conference that the team values versatility with the offensive line, which we already deducted based on the team’s offensive line signings. Telesco said that all of the tackles on the board are ranked together and they do not single out right and left tackles. The team wants someone who could play either, it seems.

There are two different lines of thinking with Telesco’s comments. First, the team might end up taking Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith if they are available and are much higher than the next-best offensive tackle that the Chargers have on the board.

Or, which is probably more likely with Telesco, he is throwing smoke screens. I have learned over the last eight years that the more Telesco tries to turn attention away from something the more likely the team is to go in that direction.

The Pipkins comment, the player not position comment and the tackle versatility comment all points to a tackle at 13. Heck, it could even point to a trade-up for someone such as Penei Sewell. As he said in the press conference, the GM making the phone call has less leverage than the one answering it. He might not want to add leverage to the conversations.

Next. Mock draft if the Chargers trade up for Penei Sewell

Tom Telesco is obviously not going to come out and tells us what the LA Chargers’ plans are for the 13th pick. The more attention he is directing away from left tackle the more likely that the pick seems.