The Chargers made Tom Telesco available Monday for a news conference that the general manager began by announcing there would be no news.
“A lot of you probably don’t want to be here because you know I’m not going to say anything,” he explained. “I don’t really want to be here because I know I can’t say anything … But let’s at least try and get through this, have some fun.”
The 2019 NFL draft opens Thursday, meaning these final days are a time when everything else remains sealed. Tight.
So, while Telesco and the Chargers were accommodating enough to invite the media over for a rap session, the team’s actual plans remained under wraps.
This is also partly because the Chargers’ first pick doesn’t arrive until the 28th selection.
Given that no one is certain yet what Arizona will do at No. 1, projecting the events that might or might not unfold 27 names later is impossible.
Yet, while being both unwilling and unable to disclose what he and the team have in mind, Telesco’s nonanswers Monday did offer a few hints:
1) The Chargers will use their first pick on the player they consider to be the best available, regardless of need or position.
2) If they stay at No. 28 and don’t trade up, they’ll be drafting in the first round a player they don’t consider to be a genuine first-rounder.
3) While always open to adding a young quarterback, the Chargers are perfectly content at that spot entering the 2019 season.
“I love where we are right now with Philip [Rivers] and with Tyrod Taylor and even with Cardale Jones,” Telesco said of their first-, second- and third-string quarterbacks. “Philip had a career year last year. He’s really showing no signs of descending …
“We feel like we have two starting-level NFL quarterbacks, which I think is important for us right now. We’re a good football team. Now, we’ve got two quarterbacks we feel like we can win with.”
All of which makes the unlikely scenario of the Chargers trading for Josh Rosen anytime soon even more unlikely.
If the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray No. 1 overall Thursday, they might then deal Rosen, who was a first-round pick only a year ago.
The Chargers have been one of the teams rumored to be a possible landing spot for the former UCLA quarterback.
As it is, Telesco said he fully anticipates the Chargers extending the contract of Rivers, who is 37 and entering the final year of his deal.
“Our expectation is he’s going to be here for a while,” Telesco said. “I haven’t seen anything different.”
The Chargers will go into this draft with obvious needs along the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary. That doesn’t necessarily mean the player they select Thursday will satisfy one of those needs.
Last April, they entered the draft almost certain safety Derwin James would be unavailable by the time they picked 17th overall.
When they went on the clock and James was still there to be taken, the Chargers moved swiftly.
Telesco explained that while needs always are a consideration, the more important factor — particularly later in the first round — is securing the best player on the board.
“At 28, it’s a little bit different,” he said. “More than likely, there aren’t going to be four, five, six players there that are potential difference-makers.
“That player is going to be a player we really like. It could be a position where we don’t have an immediate need, maybe more of a secondary type thing. But if he’s the best player, that’s probably a guy we’re going to go with.”
The Chargers aren’t expecting to be crazy lucky for the second year in a row. They don’t anticipate having a talent the caliber of James still waiting around when they make their first selection.
In fact, Telesco said, based on his annual averages over the past several years, there are typically only 15 to 18 players with first-round ability.
“I don’t think anybody would ever have 28 players rated as first-round players,” he said. “I know we don’t … It’s just different picking 28th rather than in the top 15, top 17. I don’t know what the expectations will be Year One. It may not be to come in and play like Derwin James did. It’s pretty amazing what he did.”
Most evaluators have this draft class tilted toward defense, Telesco describing the linemen coming out as “very strong” and the group overall “probably as deep as we’ve seen in a while.”
The Chargers have been linked to several defenders up front, including Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery and Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence.
Then again, other projections have them taking an offensive lineman first, those possibilities including North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury and Washington State’s Andre Dillard.
Regardless of which player the Chargers take in the first round, they’ll be adding someone from the very top of their list.
“The biggest thing is when you stack your board make sure you’re not stacking it with any need bias,” Telesco said. “That’s part of my job to make sure we stay as objective as possible.”