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NFL Draft

General Manager Speak: Assessing Chargers’ 2020 NFL Draft

  • The Draft Network
  • May 17, 2020
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There will be a new player under center for the Chargers for the first time since 2003 after they parted ways with long-time quarterback Philip Rivers. 

General manager Tom Telesco understood how difficult of a decision it was to part with the 16-year veteran, but holding the No. 6 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Los Angeles was in prime position to find the next face of its franchise.

The Chargers’ complete 2020 draft class:

In this new series, I will analyze quotes that stuck out the most from executives’ pre- and post-draft press conferences. Below are quotes from Telesco.

Question: What did you like most about Herbert coming out of Oregon?

Telesco: “It’s a combination of his physical skills, his style of how he plays and then his makeup is just really intriguing to us. He’s a big, fast, dual-threat quarterback, with still plenty of room to grow, and we really like his quarterback intangibles, his quarterback makeup, his leadership skills, his toughness, his mental toughness, being able to handle adversity.”

Analysis: This match made way too much sense. Comfort is something Herbert frequently talks about, and he got exactly that with the Chargers. The most interesting dynamic about this fit is the situation surrounding incumbent quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He’s expecting to be the bridge gap to Herbert, but for how long? There's hardly ever a circumstance where an early drafted passer is held on the bench for the entire season. Herbert was labeled as one of the more pro-ready quarterbacks in this class. With a roster that's ready to win now, it's going to be hard for Taylor to hold Herbert from taking over the reins in order for the Chargers to get a quick evaluation of just how ready he is. 

Los Angeles’ vertical offense is thought to be the best fit for Herbert and his skill set. After being placed in a side-to-side quick throwing offense at Oregon, he's now in a scheme that will allow him to constantly attack downfield with reliable perimeter weapons in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry.

Question: Most mentioned that you gave up a lot in order to trade up for Kenneth Murray. Why were you so comfortable with doing so?

Telesco: “He plays with a really violent mentality. You can just kind of feel him on the field with the presence that he plays with. He’s a player our scouting staff, our coaching staff, our head coach are really, really excited about. This is a guy that everyone was pounding the table on for weeks. So we felt like once it got to a certain point, it gave us that opportunity to go up and be aggressive and get him. There was 100 percent buy-in to add him to this football team. He can play any of the spots that we would ask him to. Whenever we get on the field, hopefully as soon as possible, we’ll see where everything shakes out.”

Analysis: The linebackers at the top of the class — Isaiah Simmons, Patrick Queen and Murray — were strong, but after that, there was a precipitous drop-off. 

Teams fell in love with Murray because of his passion, intensity and continued development. The Chargers were comfortable enough to exchange Nos. 37 and 71 picks to the Patriots in order to acquire Murray at No. 23.

Los Angeles’ defense is already talented on all three levels, but linebacker was arguably the one position that didn't have a high-upside player. All of that could quickly change if Murray can turn into the player who many think he can be down the road.

For more “General Manager Speak,” see Cincinnati, Miami, Detroit, Arizona, New York Giants and Cleveland’s executives discuss their 2020 draft class.

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