In 2013, Tom Telesco made very few bad decisions. His first three draft picks as a general manager all contributed at a high level on the field, and appear to have the Chargers primed to be competitive for years to come. Free agent additions like Danny Woodhead, King Dunlap, and Chad Rinehart all outperformed the contracts they were given by San Diego. However, there is one smudge on the young GM’s resume and it comes in the form of Derek Cox. Cox broke out in 2012 for Jacksonville recording 60 tackles and four interceptions. At the time, a 26-year old cornerback coming into his prime seemed to be a brilliant addition to a defense needing a lot of help on the outside. But unfortunately, the big-money free agent never lived up to his billing and was cut after less than a year in San Diego.
So as 2014 rolls around, Telesco again has been presented with a gaping hole at the cornerback position, but appears to be taking a much different route to filling his team’s weakness. Instead of signing big name and aging free agents at the position, Telesco went on the search for a cheap, high-potential player. He has found his man in former Cincinnati Bengal, Brandon Ghee. Ghee was part of a Wake Forest defense in the late 2000’s that had a reputation for producing pros. From 2007-2010, Wake Forest had seven defensive players drafted (four from the secondary). Ghee displayed all the tools at the 2010 combine measuring in at 6’0” and almost 200 pounds. His 4.4 forty-time and 37” inch vertical helped solidify his draft position and the Bengals pulled the trigger in the third round. Since then, Ghee has had trouble staying healthy playing in only 23 games during his first four years, but this lack of physical wear could give the Bolts a player for years to come. Reports coming out of Cincinnati last training camp had Ghee challenging for a starting position before he was sidelined with a concussion forcing him to miss the first three games of 2013.
I like this move by Telesco because it shows he isn’t willing to again overpay for a defensive back in free agency again. The man has learned from his mistakes. For now, I assume the asking price for veterans like Asante Samuel, Cortland Finnegan, Charles Tillman, and Champ Bailey are much higher than the market wants to give. Telesco is bolstering his defensive backfield with depth, looking to improve in the draft, and waiting out a deep market. Let’s hope Brandon Ghee stays healthy in 2014 and the Chargers have found a diamond no one else saw. Hey, he can’t be much worse than Cox right?