New general manager Tom Telesco has already said that the Chargers won’t pursue big name players during free agency this off-season. “There’s a time and a place, but that time and place for it is not this year,” Telesco told the Associated Press. This statement hasn’t rubbed fans the right way and of course the AJ Smith/ Norv Turner comparisons are coming from all angles.
To those on the outside, it doesn’t make sense. But that’s why we’re not the general manager of a professional football team. Telesco has had recent success with the same mentality that he’s bringing to the Chargers. Last season with the Colts, Telesco essentially rebuilt a team who had the worst record in football to an 11-5 playoff team. Several rookies like Andrew Luck and Ty Hilton contributed to the Colts success. Now San Diego doesn’t have the luxury of the first overall pick but the Chargers already have a franchise quarterback in place. If you look back at the Colts offense before Luck, who was there? Marvin Harrison. That’s about it. I’d argue that it’d be much easier to build around a franchise quarterback like Rivers rather than a receiver. But the Chargers are ultimately tasked with protecting Rivers and that will, and should be, top priority.
The Chargers have said that re-signing Louis Vasquez was on the top of their list, yet they haven’t made an offer to their starting guard yet. Vasquez is going to test the free agency market and San Diego will likely become active when they start to see who offers Vasquez and what they offer him. Other than that, don’t be surprised if the Chargers are quiet when free agency starts tomorrow.
So what’s that mean? It means they’ll have to look to the draft to get their team. It also means that this could quite possibly be a true rebuilding season. Here’s a breakdown of what the Chargers draft could look like:
1st round: Lane Johnson – OT
2nd round: Barrett Jones – OG/C/OT
3rd round: Leon McFadden – CB
4th round: Johnathan Franklin – RB
5th round: A.J. Klein – ILB
6th round: Hugh Thornton – OG
7th round: Kyler Reed – TE
If the Chargers are quiet in free agency, they’ll have to make some great selections in the draft to put the team on the right track. With the right selections, a team can bounce back quick, but with the wrong ones, a team can just dig themselves into a hole.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Welch1048.