Chargers GM Tom Telesco Keeping Close Eye on Quarterbacks at Senior Bowl
Jason B. Hirschhorn
MOBILE, Ala. -- With the future at quarterback uncertain, Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco will take a long look at the options available in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. That process began formally this month with the college all-star games, including the Senior Bowl.
Telesco discussed the process of evaluating the signal-callers attending the Senior Bowl on the Chargers Weekly podcast.
"I mean, it's always important," Telesco said of the quarterbacks participating at the Senior Bowl. "I mean, really, it's more important what they did at their college for three or four years. But yeah, the all-star game is great, and it's great to see guys want to come and compete and play no matter where you think you may be drafted to come compete."
This year's Senior Bowl includes several notable college signal-callers. Oregon's Justin Herbert entered the season as one of the top prospects at the position and showcased his rare size and athleticism late in the season and during the Rose Bowl. Utah State's Jordan Love also has garnered considerable attention and some disparate comparisons, with a few draft evaluators noticing similarities to the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes while others see a variant of the Tennessee Titans' Marcus Mariota.
The Chargers have largely eschewed drafting quarterbacks over the past decade and change, selecting only four since acquiring Philip Rivers on draft day in 2004. Only one of those picks -- Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst in 2006 -- came during the first three rounds of a draft.
Still, that approach could realistically change this year. Telesco acknowledged during his season-closing press conference that the Chargers could draft their quarterback of the future whether or not Rivers returns next season. And while the front office hasn't picked a signal-caller early in the draft in more than a decade, it has invested considerable time evaluating the position in recent years.
"The quarterback position, we've scouted it every year," Telesco said. "It's not like we go into a year and say, 'You know what? We're all good at that position. Let's not even worry about watching practice. We'll have somebody else worry about that.' That's not how that works. But I love seeing players that are 'projected to go high' and still want to come play in this game. That's great to see."
With Rivers a free agent this offseason and no obvious long-term replacement on the roster, Telesco could finally use a high draft pick on a quarterback in 2020.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH