It seems as if praise has already been dumped upon new San Diego Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco by the truckload this offseason. The Bolts finally decided to part ways with former decision maker A.J. Smith after his beginner’s luck finally wore off, and now it seems the excitement over TT (as many like to call him) just won’t wear off.
“Tom has that no-stone-unturned mindset. Tom never stops working. That’s what the Chargers are going to appreciate. If I asked Tom if this guy could play or not, an hour later I was getting a text from him or he was knocking on my door, giving me a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Tom is a bright, bright, bright guy with a great work ethic.”
Words like these tend to follow Telesco around, and that bodes well for his future in San Diego. Plenty of draft gurus have widely lauded his haul in April’s 2013 NFL Draft already, and many feel that the Bolts added not one, not two, but three first round caliber players. In fact several mock drafts had D.J. Fluker, Manti Te’o, and Keenan Allen being selected in the first 32 picks.
As Bolts fans have seen, however, a first draft does not dictate just how well a GM will fare over the long haul. Former GM A.J. Smith came into the fold in a tough situation with the Chargers, but his first draft was a doozy. The rights to Eli Manning were dealt in exchange for Philip Rivers and picks that would become former kicker Nate Kaeding and former linebacker Shawne Merriman who was selected the following year. In the 2004 version, Smith also added center Nick Hardwick, linebacker Shaun Phillips, running back Michael Turner, and wide receiver Malcom Floyd in rounds three, four, five, and six respectively. To top it all off, he signed an undrafted free agent tight end by the name of Antonio Gates as well.
While this may seem like a cautionary tale, it doesn’t have to be. Telesco has shown no reason to believe he will turn into a cantankerous know-it-all after his impressive first haul. He has also already shown a willingness to negotiate with players while still exercising some sense of frugality.
It’s no surprise that Telesco is already a hit in San Diego as he worked under six-time NFL Executive of the Year Bill Polian with the Colts. The all-time great personnel guru Polian was asked about his former protégé and said:
“Tom knows the league; he does what it takes to be good at his job. He’s a hard worker. He’s level-headed. He’s a great judge of talent. He will be great in San Diego.”
Outside opinions are nice, but it’s always great to hear from the man himself. Telesco said:
“It’s my job to know the league. I have to know that stuff. It’s my job to study rosters every day. (I) come into work every day trying to find the best players we can. Part of building chemistry with the team and the team process is getting to know the coaches well, getting to know the scouts, the front office. That’s all part of team building for me. It’s just trying to get to know everybody really well.”
Fans of the Chargers should be excited about the direction Telesco is taking this team. He has made it a priority to address the weaknesses and further solidify the areas of strength. That type of approach is what has me convinced that the Bolts found themselves a real gem in Telesco’s budding young football mind.