Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Will Trader Tom show up on draft day?
By Eric D. Williams
Conservative and cautious in his approach to player acquisition, San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has shown a willingness to be aggressive in the draft in order to get the player his team wants.
As vice president of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, Telesco was part of the decision-making process that sent a fourth-round pick (No. 97 overall) and a fifth-round pick in 2013 to San Francisco for a 2012 third-round pick (No. 92).
The Colts selected a pretty good player, receiver T.Y. Hilton, with that pick.
During that same draft, Indianapolis traded the team’s sixth-round pick (No. 172) to Philadelphia for offensive tackle Winston Justice and the Eagles’ sixth-round pick further down in the same round.
The Colts turned around and traded that sixth-round pick (No. 187) to the New York Jets for quarterback Drew Stanton, picking up the Jets’ seventh rounder (No. 214) later in the draft.
Indianapolis selected defensive end Tim Fugger with the pick from the Jets.
Running the draft on his own for the first time in 2013, Telesco traded a second-round pick (No. 45) and a fourth-round pick (No. 110) to Arizona in order to move up to No. 38 to take Manti Te'o.
So Telesco has shown a willingness to move around in the draft. I proposed a scenario earlier in which the Chargers could move down in order to pick up more picks in this year’s draft and add depth to this year’s roster.
In an interview with Fox Sports San Diego, Telesco talked about the flexibility of drafting at No. 25.
“At 25, it’s really difficult,” Telesco said. “So you have to be flexible. You set the board, and we talk about how the board has to talk to you. You can’t manufacture players, you can’t manufacture positions. So you have to be flexible at No. 25 -- not only position or player, but whether to trade up, down or wherever you may go.”
Telesco also discussed how the personnel department will manage the last few weeks of the draft. He said a lot of pre-draft preparation is the finalization of how a team will handle decision-making.
“We have players we like, now we have to figure out how to get them -- that’s the big thing,” Telesco said. “We go through a lot of scenarios looking at who’s going to be there -- which group of guys are going to be there, and how do we have them ranked. And then who are we going to take first -- and that goes through all positions.
“Those last couple days, we try and go through every possibility that could happen on draft day. So when draft day comes, we know exactly what our decision will be. And there’s not a lot of discussion at that point.”
While many mock drafts have San Diego selecting a cornerback in the first round, Telesco indicated he has high hopes for cornerback Steve Williams. A 5-10, 185-pound cornerback selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of Cal, Williams missed all of last season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in exhibition play against Chicago.
“Stevie Williams was having a great camp for us,” Telesco said. “He’s a nice man cover corner. He’s really quick, has some ball skills but unfortunately got hurt for us during the preseason. We looked at it as a redshirt year. He got a chance to get stronger in the weight room.”