L.A. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco explained the Charger’s process of choosing players for the NFL Draft on Monday, April 24, 2017. Evaluating prospects for the Bolts was judged upon four attributes.
“Our foundation is probably the eyes of the scout, the background, the medical and analytics,” said Telesco. “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Despite having new members on the coaching staff, Telesco and his team did not find difficulty in scouting draft picks. He noted how the draft process took longer due him meeting and becoming familiar with the new staff.
“What I’ve seen so far is with the new coaches, they’ve been good evaluators,” Telesco said. “They can really communicate to us what they are looking for and that’s really important for any scout, any [General Manager] that the coaches know exactly the traits that fit the scheme that they want to run.”
The Chargers have eight college scouts that scour the country during the fall, attending practices and games; they create draft reports that access the talents off potential draft choices. Scouting assistants relay the reports to the front office.
Three Charger pro scouts study NFL teams, looking for strengths, weaknesses, and trade philosophies among other things.
The pool of draft prospects initially starts with approximately 3000 players and gets whittled down to under 200 by draft day, according to Telesco.
“A lot of the draft is eliminating the players that don’t fit for you either scheme-wise or culture-wise,” he said.
Injuries are also taken into consideration, as prospects with injuries are common, resulting in discussing medical evaluation and performance potential of the player.
“We’ll sit in the room with the doctors almost like it’s a scouting meeting,” said Telesco. “We’ll go through all the players, what they have, what their risks are, what the short-term risk is, what the long term is.”
When the coaches meet with the scouts, discussions about prospective players can turn into passionate rebuttals. Scouts, at times, have broader perspectives while coaches are more concerned with specific and targeted details.
“We’re all football people, so sometimes we get a little bit heated when you’re talking about football,” Telesco said. “But there’s also some professional humility too.”
Telesco also mentioned that the Chargers are following the trends of the market before finding solutions for their existing weaknesses.
“There are positions in our team we would like to add to,” he said. “But we’ll never pass a special player for a need.”
Telesco was responsible for bringing the talents of wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Melvin Gordon to the Bolts. During the 2013 season, Allen earned 1,046 receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns, the Chargers had a 9-7 overall record that season. Gordon was the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft and rushed for 997 yards and scored 10 touchdowns last season.
In their first season in LA, the Chargers are aiming to improve on their 5-11 record and make the playoffs in a tough AFC West Conference, where the Kansas Chief and Oakland Raiders are dominant. With a new head coach in Anthony Lynn, perhaps Telesco, can help by securing key players in the upcoming 2017 season in a new city with a new attitude.