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Chargers Ready For NFL Combine

GM Tom Telesco Shares His Philosophy

By Derek Togerson
|  Friday, Feb 21, 2014  |  Updated 5:32 AM PDT
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Chargers Ready For NFL Combine

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 23: Manti Te'o of Notre Dame speaks to the media during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 23, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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It's NFL Combine week, the time when Draft hopefuls run, lift, jump, stretch, and occasionally throw and catch in front of the entire NFL power structure.

Last year Keenan Allen was supposed to be a first round pick, but a knee injury kept him from participating in the N-F-L Combine. It's no coincidence he slid to the 3rd round, where the Chargers were more than happy to scoop him up.

So is one of the intriguing mysteries of the Combine. A great showing can move a player up Draft boards. A bad one can move him down. Every team looks at it a little bit differently.

Obviously, the Chargers have decided to take a few other things in to consideration.

"The Combine is important, but I will say it's only a piece of the puzzle," says Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. "It's not the end-all, be-all. For us it's very important how they played in the fall as a college football player. That's a big part of the evaluation process.

"The background and work we get from the schools is very important. And then, the Combine is that other piece of the puzzle where we get to sit down with kids in interviews."

During the week each N-F-L team is only allowed to interview 60 players. Well, they're only allowed 60 formal interviews with players.

"We also do a lot of talking with players that aren't on that list at different points of the week," says Telesco. "It is nice to get a player in front of you, get a little better feel for them, get a feel for their football intelligence.

"The big thing for us that people forget is it's a big medical process for us, to have our doctors get a chance to evaluate each player, their medical history, because football is a physical game. To have all the players in one spot, we have our doctors look at them, that's still part of the process, too, when you're evaluating and deciding who you want to bring in."

That's one of the reasons they were comfortable with Allen and his knee. Let's take a quick look at the Combine by the numbers:

  • There are 1000 Draft-eligible players.
  • 335 of them have been invited to Indianapolis for the Combine.
  • About 250 of them will be selected in the Draft.
  • Between 500 and 600 more will catch on at NFL training camps as undrafted free agents.

One team can't possibly scout every single guy. Can it?

"Believe it or not we do, for a couple of different reasons," says Telesco. "We have to have a good feeling of where they may be drafted because that helps us with our Draft management as far as who may go before us. We pick at 25 this year so it's a little more difficult to figure who may be there in the pick."

The Chargers will not be taking a quarterback in the first round, but they still do a full analysis on the likes of Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, because they have to.

"You just never know when your needs are going to become needs. I think if you wait until it's an actual need it may be too late. So, we scout all the positions in the Draft equally because we never know this year, next year, the needs may change. They change month-to-month sometimes, especially with the way injuries are in this business, so those quarterbacks we evaluated just like we would need one."

It is information overload. But, when you are only going to end up with 25 guys out of 1000, you want to know everything you possibly can.

Players and coaches started their media meetings on Thursday. The first on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium are Saturday morning, when the Tight Ends, Offensive Linemen and Special Teams players are featured.

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