During the draft perennial playoff teams are always patient, take the best player available and don’t reach for players. After making a solid pick in cornerback Jason Verrett in the first round, I thought Tom Telesco and the Chargers made poor decisions on day two and three.
In the second round Telesco traded (125th pick in fourth to Miami Dolphins) up seven spots to grab outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu. Even though I thought this was a very good pick at a position of need, was it worth a second and a fourth round pick? I don’t know. Only time will tell, but the Chargers have a lot of holes and giving away picks was not a good move.
This was an extremely deep draft at a lot of positions of need for the Chargers, so all seven of their picks held tremendous value. Losing a vital fourth rounder hurt San Diego and Attaochu could’ve potentially dropped the seven spots to them at 57. This trade had a huge effect on the rest of their draft and Telesco was very conservative going forward.
Telesco followed up Attaochu with a bit of a stretch in offensive guard Chris Watt in the third round. While this was another area of need, there were better players at the same position (Trai Turner, David Yankey) still on the board. Both Turner and Yankey provide much more versatility than Watt and we know the Chargers love a versatile lineman. They shifted linemen all over the place when guys went down last season.
Going into the third round Telesco knew he didn’t have a fourth rounder, so he had to make a solid pick. Watt was a reach and would’ve been available later in the draft. Telesco could’ve addressed an even bigger need at defensive tackle (Justin Ellis, DaQuan Jones) or went with a receiver to complement Keenan Allen (Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant). All four of these players would’ve been a better value pick than Watt.
Telesco had to wait 76 picks between the Chargers’ third and fifth round selections. In the fifth round Telesco selected defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers. He finally addressed the gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line, but this looked to me as Telesco ‘taking what was left’ at the position. Carrethers has great size and strength for the position, but less than ideal length, athleticism, agility and quickness.
The most surprising pick of all was running back Marion Grice in the sixth round. This pick was shocking. With Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead on the roster, then adding Donald Brown in free agency, this was not a position of need. Yes, Matthews’ and Woodhead’s contracts are up at the end of the season, but wasn’t the point of signing Brown to a three-year contract to address that? It would have made more sense to use Brown’s money (3-year, $10.5M) on a couple other free agents and then picked a running back at this spot.
While Grice has great receiving abilities and is good in space, he has very little power, doesn’t run well between the tackles and has less than ideal speed (4.67 40-yard dash). He has trouble in short yardage and goal line situations, and the Chargers struggled mightily in those situations last season. If Telesco didn’t sign Brown in free agency it would have made more sense to take Storm Johnson or Tyler Gaffney at this spot in the sixth round. Both bring a physical, downhill running style that would complement Matthews and Woodhead. Telesco could have gone in many other directions with this pick, but adding massive offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson could have paid dividends with King Dunlap entering free agency after this season.
In the seventh round Telesco selected speed receiver Tevin Reese. I like this pick. Most of the time seventh rounders don’t turn out, but Reese has elite speed and quickness. He’s a very raw route runner, but his speed could provide immediate impact in the return game.
Telesco needed to be more patient in the draft. Trading up and losing a fourth round pick made him more conservative, which lead to reaching for Watt and settling for Carrethers.
Draft Grade: C