As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:
His Draft Classes
***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.
2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson
DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6
Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5
Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9
Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3
Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1
Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0
2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese
Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8
Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5
Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3
Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5
Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0
Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0
2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon
Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2
Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7
Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3
Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4
Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3
Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F
His free agent signings (major ones only)
***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers
2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips
Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9
King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8
Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2
Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4
John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4
2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes
Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3
Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8
Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6
David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3
2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson
Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0
Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3
Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6
Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7
Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2
Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F
His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)
2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown
Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8
Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7
2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall
Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0
Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6
Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3
Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3
2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers
King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4
Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2
Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F
Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F
Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.
We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.
Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!
With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.
Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.
Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.
Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.
Rd Player Position College
1 D.J. Fluker OL Alabama
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)
Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.
2 Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)
Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.
3 Keenan Allan WR California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)
Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.
5 Steve Williams DB California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)
Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.
6 Tourek Williams DE Florida International
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.
7 Brad Sorenson QB Southern Utah
Still on Team: Yes (PS) Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.
Rd Player Position College
1 Jason Verrett DB TCU
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)
Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.
2 Jeremiah Attaochu LB Georgia Tech
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)
Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.
3 Chris Watt OL Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.
5 Ryan Carrethers DT Arkansas State
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.
6 Marion Grice RB Arizona State
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.
7 Tevin Reese WR Baylor
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.
So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.
How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.
Philip Rivers is probably sitting back at his house with his 7 kids, and his beautiful wife, just beaming about the amount of wide receiver talent that will be at his disposal this year. Tom Telesco has done a great job leaving no stone unturned in his search for outstanding talent with an emphasis on great character. Right now we are going to take a look at all of the weapons at the wide receiver position that we can look forward to seeing suit up for the San Diego Chargers during the 2014 NFL season. Before I get into this evaluation, I only expect there to be 5 wide receivers on the Bolts this year.
Eddie Royal jumped out to a very fast start in the 2013 season by scoring 5+ touchdowns in the first handful of games last year. He used his great physical tools to make catches and create yards after said receptions. Additionally, he displayed a gritty toughness despite missing practice most of the year with a foot injury and still managed to play in 15 of the 16 regular season games. Look for a healthy Royal to continue to make an impact on this offense.
Malcom Floyd is an imposing figure at the WR position standing 6’5″. As most of the diehard Charger fans know, Malcom missed 14 of the 16 regular season games after suffering a horrific neck injury that left most fans fearing that we had seen the last of M-80 in a Chargers uniform. For the record, I was an advocate of his comeback from the very beginning. I had no doubt that he was going to rehab harder than anyone could imagine to get back on the field and go out of the game of football on his terms. Unfortunately for M-80, health has been a major concern for his entire career; only playing a full 16 games 1 time in his 11 year career. There is no denying his ability when he is on the football field. He can out-jump most defensive backs. Floyd is a true deep threat. I’m hoping that he will stay healthy all season long and terrorize defenses until they have trouble sleeping at night.
After almost quitting the NFL, an injury gave Allen the chance that he needed and he took the opportunity and ran with it. Keenan outperformed every single receiver that was taken in the NFL draft last year leaving the other general managers not named Tom Telesco in a state of self-evaluation. Keenan quickly formed a great rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers and became his favorite target throughout the course of the 2013 season. This offseason, Keenan dedicated his time to improving his speed, which adds another element to his all-around game. Allen is the number 1 receiver on this team. Fans should look for big numbers from him this year.
The reason that Seyi Ajirotutu is going to be on this ball club this year is because he has more than one facet of his game to offer to this team. Not only is he great friends with Philip Rivers, he also is a stand out performer on special teams. Most of you will remember the fantastic touchdown catch that Ajirotutu made last year in the 4th quarter to win the game against the Chiefs. That ended up being one of the highlight reel plays for the Chargers last season. I don’t foresee him on the field too often as a receiver this season, but more of a special teamer.
Dontrelle Inman is going to be on this football team. He’s gone out there in training camp and earned his position. A CFL football player last season, signed by Tom Telesco after an open tryout last December, Inman has worked his tail off during this offseason and his work has been noticed by the coaches. I expect him to make an impact for this team this year. He has the prototypical wide receiver body at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.
I like Vincent Brown a lot. I thought he had a lot of talent but health never allowed him to put it all together. As of now, he seems to be headed towards the PUP (Physically unable to perform) list alongside guard Jeromey Clary. I liked what I’ve seen out of Javonte Herndon in the preseason, seems to have good speed and good hands a potential practice squad member. I also believe that Rookie 7th round pick Tevin Reese is headed for the practice squad. He started off training camp on a good note, but has since declined showing a lack of knowledge of the routes and unreliable hands. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my very first article for Boltblitz.com and I hope you enjoyed it.
Looking at what the Charger wide receiving group had to go through in 2013 due to the losses of Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd, the team has a couple of new faces making plays and impressing at Chargers Park during training camp. Those two players are Tevin Reese and Dontrelle Inman.
When comparing them physically, they couldn’t be any more different. Reese stands 5’10” and weighs 170 pounds while Inman is 6’3″ and has a 205 pound frame. One thing they certainly have in common through the first three days of training camp is that they are impressing the coaching staff and making plays.
Tevin is a burner out of Baylor that Tom Telesco selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft. His speed and quickness have both been highlighted in the first days of training camp. After dropping a couple of passes, and bobbling a few others as well, Reese has been securing the ball and catching it outside of his frame. He has made some fantastic plays thus far. He’s made a few defensive backs look silly with his ability to take the top of the defense with his blazing speed.
The rookie is also seeing a lot of time returning punts all throughout camp. You’ve also seen Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal back there in addition to Reese. I certainly don’t want to see San Diego’s number one wideout – Allen – risking injury during return duties and the team knows the importance of a healthy Royal after he missed most of last year’s practice time.
If Tevin Reese continues to make strides as both a returner and a wide receiver, the Bolts might have found a serious threat that can provide the game-changing playmaker the team has lacked since the loss of Darren Sproles.
The 25-year-old Dontrelle Inman comes to the Chargers via the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. As mentioned above, Inman has good size and he’s shown that he has very reliable hands as a receiver. Like Reese, his play has been solid and he is earning kudos from Charger head coach Mike McCoy.
Inman will have to keep working hard and find a way to contribute on special teams if he wants to carve out a spot on the 2014 Chargers. But his ability to position his body and fend off members of the secondary while getting after passes is exciting. Although his route running needs a little work – rounded off a few routes the last couple of days – he is above-average in that department. He’s made some great plays in both 7-on-7 and full team drills.
It will be a difficult path for both of the young men to make the roster this season. But if they both keep wowing the coaching staff with the same highlight plays as they have up until this point, they’ll definitely garner an extra look from McCoy and Telesco.
Thanks a lot for reading.
I had the pleasure of being at the first day of Chargers training camp today. Due to the fact that there were no injuries, the only negative takeaway I have is that I am, slightly, resembling a lobster. I was offered sunscreen by my great friend, Chris Garcia ( @sportsbrain on Twitter ), yet I, regretfully, declined. I am burnt to a crisp.
But enough about me and my sunburn. There are a lot of positive takeaways from the first day of Charger training camp. One of which was getting to see Joel Price again. He runs the Chargers Twitter account – @Chargers – and you can find his personal account at @joelprice as well.
Let’s go straight to my analysis of the first day of training camp. I mean, it’s not lot the major networks are talking about it…. AT ALL!
1) Brandon Flowers is extremely aggressive. Do not let his size fool you. He was all over receivers and looked quick all practice long. He actually made me shudder on a few plays where he was right on top on Malcom Floyd. Lord knows we don’t want him to be the new Shareece Wright, in that he manages to find ways to hurt Charger players during previous training camps.
2) Donald Brown’s feet are much quicker than I expected. His ability to cut and change direction is very impressive in person. Way to go, Tom Telesco. This signing will pay dividends.
3) When watching Tevin Reese he bobbled,yet caught, and dropped, a few passes at the beginning of the day. But he finished strong by making at least three remarkable catches. There were a few other catches that were impressive as well. I am a bit concerned that he shows, at times, a propensity to not be able to secure the ball when it initially hits his hands. But his speed and quickness make him an asset to this team. Telesco made it clear that he wanted to add more speed. And he did just that with the acquisition of Reese. He made plays that other wide receivers would not be able to make.
4) Jason Verrett is great at high-pointing the ball and his instincts make you forget about his lack of height and size. Verrett is still not 100%. But watching him today makes me believe that the Chargers made an undeniably excellent choice with the 25th pick in the first round of this year’s draft. When you add in his aforementioned traits, and his quickness and speed, Jason is just what this Charger secondary needs in having a playmaker that can contribute right away.
5) These players were in on punt return duties: Tevin Reese, Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal. It would appear that, considering that Reese was the first man up to receive the first punt, the team is looking long and hard at Reese as a punt return guy. I am not a fan of using Keenan Allen back there; as most of you have read via my posts on BoltBlitz.com, tweets and Facebook posts. I refuse to be able to get behind using the team’s number one wide receiver as a punt returner. I don’t like Eddie Royal back there either. We all should be on the Tevin Reese train and hoping that he continues to produce on a consistent level.
6) Melvin Ingram had to pull up often. He was on the other side of the ball and, being a veteran, he knew that getting too close to Philip Rivers was not an option. He looks fast and ready to make an impact in 2014.
7) Marion Grice, although he didn’t look overly quick, had a few runs that reminded me of some of the tape I received from Arizona State. He also made a few catches that would make some wideouts jealous. He’s got great hands. I’m excited to see what he can do.
8) Craig Watts Jr. was effective when on the field. He needs to work on his footwork a bit, which I’ve told him via text. But his play at the point of attack will, without a doubt, land him on the practice squad. Book it. I would not be surprised if he made the 53-man roster.
9) In his time with the second and third units, Alden Darby was in the right place at the right time. His coverage was tight and I look forward to his progress once he makes the squad. Yup, he will make this team.
10) Marcus Gilchrist looks bigger, and more stout this year. His muscle mass seems more defined and it looks as though he has embraced his new role as a strong safety on the Bolts. Only time will tell.
11) Keenan Allen looks determined and focused. He absorbed all comments from coaches during today’s training camp willingly. His cuts in and out of breaks were so solid. His hands continued to prove reliable and I can’t wait to see what he can do during his sophomore campaign in 2014. Not only will there not be a sophomore slump for Allen, I see him having an even better year this season.
12) Sean Lissemore looks bigger. He created a solid push. Yes, they aren’t in full pads, but I might have been too quick to judge him as a starting nose tackle in John Pagano’s defense. Although I’d still prefer him as defensive end depth, he may be a stop-gap for the time being.
13) Philip Rivers has one of the quickest releases in the NFL. Some may question his arm strength, but he gets the ball out so fast. He is an elite quarterback and those of you that do not believe in him, you should completely reassess your evaluation.
14) Brad Sorensen was out of sync and threw behind receivers often. Fans near me wanted to credit the defensive backs for making good plays. Truth be told, he just didn’t look very impressive. Sorry to all of you that think “Sorensen is the Charger quarterback of the future,” I just don’t see it.
15) The battle at strong safety is hot and heated already. Although Marcus Gilchrist saw the starting snaps with the first team, Jahleel Addae is learning Pagano’s defense at a quick pace. I can’t wait for them to put on the pads and see what he can do. My biggest concern regarding Addae during training camp? He may hurt a fellow teammate.
16) Jeromey Clary was on the side cheering on his peers due to being on the PUP list. Johnnie Troutman saw snaps with the first team. I am not sure that is conducive to success for the offensive line, nor the offense as a whole. For those of you that are not in favor of Clary making the roster, be careful what you wish for. Be very careful.
There’s my incredibly premature breakdown after the first day of training camp for your San Diego Chargers. Be sure to leave your thoughts below and let me know what you think. I am especially interested in what you saw if you were there today to enjoy the festivities.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The fourth Charger, and final installment of my four-part series, that I expect to make an impact in 2014 is rookie Tevin Reese. A burner from Baylor, Reese was drafted by the Chargers in the 7th round. Reese signed a 4-year, $2.269 Million contract with Bolts four-day after being drafted, which indicates that Chargers staff expects Reese to be a playmaker for years to come.
Reese is coming off an All Big 12 First team season where he totaled 38 receptions for 867 yards and 8 touchdowns and averaged an astounding 22.8 yards per catch. Reese racked up a total of 24 touchdowns during his career in Waco, TX, with 21 of those scores being 40 yards or more. This kid has shown the ability to make big plays throughout his career, and I don’t expect things to change at the next level.
Reese is not your stereotypical NFL Wide Receiver – standing 5’ 10” and weighing 163 pounds – but he makes plays using his world-class speed. Reese made noise at this year’s NFL Combine by running a 4.46 40 yard dash. I expect him to make big plays for the Bolts from Day One, whether it’s in the return game or catching passes from Rivers. His speed will help him gain separation in deep routes, which will create another deadly tandem with Philip Rivers.
The Chargers have lacked a true home-run threat since the departure of Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles, but Reese will be able to fill that void. The Bolts showed that they could be very methodical in moving the football last season, using the running game to set up the pass. But now San Diego has a speedster that can utilize his blaze down the field to make big plays. My hope is that Reese can have the same kind of impact that Keenan Allen had last year, and I expect to see him making his presence known early and often in the Charger offense.
I have never done this before, but this post was a comment left by Nick Colonna on one of our articles on BoltBlitz.com. After checking with Nick, I’ve decided to post it so that more Charger fans get a look at what I find to be a very solid outlook on the Charger draft class. Enjoy.
I am guilty of making mock drafts way too early each year. Once the Superbowl is over, I dive straight into big boards, college tape, highlight reels, and start making my own mocks. I completed a full 7 round mock, addressing all 32 teams’ needs along the way. This made it pretty interesting after the real NFL Draft. I got to see where the Chargers’ talent was rated when I started doing mocks, and a final one a week before the actual draft. So to analyze, I’ll go through all our (Chargers) picks and a couple of undrafted free agents and say how they were ranked overall in comparison to all the guys coming out of college.
Chargers Draft 2014
Round 1: Jason Verrett, CB, 20th overall on my big board. I absolutely love Jason Verrett. His only knock is his size which is something he more than makes up for with his vertical, explosiveness, quickness, ball skills. I’ve always been a fan of Brent Grimes and Verrett reminds me of him. Short guy who plays big.
Round 2: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, 33rd overall on my big board. A pass rush specialist who gets to learn from Freeney, pretty happy about that. Freeney contract is up at the end of this year and Johnson is getting up there in age, this pick (as long as it pans out) will solidify our starting OLBs for years to come (That’s if Ingram stays at OLB of course).
Round 3: Chris Watt, G, 146th overall on my big board. This pick caught me off guard (no pun intended) only because I thought there was value with other guys at this point. However, Watt could potentially be the replacement for Hardwick when he retires or the replacement for Clary or Rinehart if/when they leave. Jerome Watson, whom many fans of the Bolts know, broke his tape down in a great article which convinced me that this pick was alright.
Round 4: Traded away but we kind of got it back with a certain UDFA. I’ll get to that later.
Round 5: Ryan Carrethers, NT, 113th overall on my big board. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I had Keenan Allen flashbacks in the 3rd round. I kind of feel as if the Chargers were waiting on Louis Nix to continue his fall and they’d snatch him up in the 3rd round. A 1st round talent with issues so his draft stock plummeted. When Houston picked him, they went ahead and grabbed someone else they had targeted. My personal theory during draft day, I could be (and probably am) completely wrong. When I saw that Carrethers was still on the board in the 5th, I knew he’d be the pick. A big, strong, hole-plugging nose tackle who was surprisingly productive in college.
Round 6: Marion Grice, RB, 173rd overall on my big board. A TD machine who can do damage in the return game. This pick and the Donald Brown signing (ESPECIALLY the Donald Brown signing) felt like the beginning of the end for Mathews. It’ll be interesting to see how Grice is used with Brown, Mathews, and Woodhead already in rotation. Once injuries arise, he’ll be a key asset.
Round 7: Tevin Reese, WR. 246th overall on my big board. A speedster who will more-than-likely be fielding returns during OTAs and the preseason. If he can work on his catching, he could be a nice deep threat. He is very raw and needs work. Much like all late round picks, low risk, high reward.
Jeremiah Sirles, OT, 257th on my big board. If Dunlap/Harris can’t stay healthy for all 16 games, the Chargers are going to need another tackle to hold down the position. He has the size (6’6″, 315 lbs) but lacks fluid movement and explosiveness. NFL.com’s draft profile notes he “takes to coaching and is an extremely hard worker;” something the Chargers organization wants out of football players.
Alden Darby, SS, 218th on my big board. I love Jahleel Addae at SS but the Chargers could always more DB help (much like the o-line situation). Darby can play any DB position making him extremely versatile. He’s overcome a lot of adversity (grew up in a very bad neighborhood) and has continued to. He works extremely hard, was a team leader, had the honor of wearing the Pat Tillman jersey in practice (hard work and leadership) and has make-it intangibles that could resonate with a coaching staff and inspire a locker room (NFL.com).
Chris Davis, CB, 115th overall on my big board. This guy is the 4th round talent I was talking about. Most know him for his game against Alabama. He’s a very talented punt returner. According to CBSsports.com, he has “very good balance, elusiveness and vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hands as was evidenced in his kick-six return to beat Alabama.” Not only that, Davis can excel in the defensive scheme the Chargers run. He’s not a man-to-man guy, but can be great in a zone heavy scheme. I will be watching him a lot this offseason on TV and at Chargers Park during open practices.
Thanks go out to Nick for contributing this post to the site. He doesn’t know it yet, but he won the Manti Te’o autographed picture for his comment and allowance for the site to use it as a post.
There’s always that huge anticipation for the NFL Draft. It’s that time of the year where new football players appear, each team gets their picks, everyone makes predictions and some leave happy while others leave sad. At the end of the day, it’s an event that you could say marks the beginning of a new season in the NFL.
So after the draft, what’s next?
NFL fans who have been that way for many years will let you know this is the beginning of what I like to call “The routine.” New faces are drafted into teams and then they are flown into their respective cities. Then the new faces, the staff and the front offices do exclusive interviews talking about how excited they are to be part of a team. They’ll talk about how awesome everything is going to be and how their goal is to bring home the Super Bowl win to their teams. That’s at least for the next few days or weeks, where we begin to wonder if the new players will into future hall of famers, future flops or somewhere in between.
Then comes the practices and training camps that are fast approaching. The new faces are now put to the test with their new colleagues where they are basically asked to show the veterans and coaching staff how much they have to offer to the team. What follows then is the preseason and the regular season. The games, the tailgating, the fans, the atmosphere proves to be an epic presentation of the game we love.
I mean I could go on and on, but I think you guys get the drill.
Now let’s talk Chargers this season, because that’s what we’re all truly interested about. Tom Telesco I believe did a great job, securing efficient players that hopefully will give fantastic performances on the field.
We have Jason Verrett, the first selection by the Bolts. I wasn’t really surprised that they chose a cornerback with their first pick. He looks like a guy who can get the job done and bring some strength to the secondary. With their second round selection there’s Jeremiah Attaochu (which took me about 3 days to learn how to spell), who’s tall and quick and will bring in more power to the defense. Then we have Chris Watt and Ryan Carrethers, guys who I consider major beasts. Both players are big and tough.
Seems though that the most interesting selections, at least for me, were the final 2 selections: A running back and a wide receiver. Though I don’t doubt for a minute that Marion Grice and Tevin Reese have great potential and will give their best effort if they manage to play as regulars in this season, I don’t see these two positions as having the need for further depth. At wideout we have Rookie of the Year Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu. In the running back department we have the likes of Ryan Matthews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown. So in other words, these two positions seem to be in a great place. But I mean, you can always use more depth, right?
For the fans, the most we can do right now is predict what will come once the games that count begin. What should we expect from these new faces on the field once they strap on their helmets and the jerseys highlighted by lightning bolts? How will the team fare overall in the new season, considering the tough schedule? And will we get a new stadium? (Just had to throw that last one in, because duh!)
All these questions will be answered as time goes by in the next few weeks and months. As a new season approaches, there’s a recently restored faith at getting that Super Bowl win the Charger fans have been craving. Perhaps this is the year? Looks like we’ll just have to sit back and watch to see how it all will unfold.
That’s it for now!!
Now that the 2014 NFL draft has concluded, it’s time to find out which selection the Charger fans think is their favorite choice. Like the poll that I posted earlier today, it’s a bit premature to be asking questions like these. That being said, I have little doubt that people have already decided who their early favorite is at this time.
It may be as simple as looking at the first two picks. My assumption is that both Jason Verrett and Jeremiah Attaochu will split the majority of the votes. But not everyone is fond of either selection but for different reasons. The Verrett pick has some fans concerned due to his height. As far as Attaochu is concerned, some fans didn’t approve of the team trading up to obtain the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
When looking at the drafting of Chris Watt in the third round, this choice had many questioning why a player that might have been available in the fifth round was taken so early. For what it’s worth, I like the move and the player.
After skipping the fourth round due to trade-up for Attaochu, the Bolts locked in their nose tackle in Ryan Carrethers. His production was out of this world for a nose tackle. This was a pick that some “experts” felt the Chargers settled for due to not finding their guy earlier in the draft.
In what initially appeared as an odd selection, Tom Telesco pulled the trigger on Marion Grice. The Charger backfield was already pretty stacked with the likes of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and the only major free agent pickup, Donald Brown. Grice is a jack-of-all-trades running back that excels as a receiver out of the backfield. It has been said that he will possibly have a shot at the kick returner spot as well.
Lastly, the team found the speedy Tevin Reese out of Baylor in the seventh round. With speed to burn, Reese is a guy that could come in and make an immediate impact in the return game. There is some concern that his weight of merely 163 pounds could affect his durability. He’ll need to put on a bit of weight to ensure that he can compete for the long haul of a 16-game regular season in the NFL.
Now that we’ve gone over the players in small detail, who is you favorite Charger draft pick?
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.