Telesco playing dangerous game by not adding a cornerback before the draft

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There’s a misleading sentiment around the idea of building through the draft. The idea is the best roster management comes from attaining the best players in the draft instead of signing players through free agency. While the draft remains the most efficient way to bring in skilled players on valued contracts — even in his second year Keenan Allen won’t nearly be paid what he’s worth — but there’s a danger in going into the draft with a glaring need and that’s what the San Diego Chargers are currently doing at cornerback.

Tom Telesco is probably aware, but his starting tandem at cornerback right now is Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall. Wright is still young, just 26 years old, and started improving as the season went on last year and should continue that improvement into the 2014 season. Marshall came over to San Diego early last season after being cut from the Miami Dolphins — a telling sign to start since Jeff Ireland never met a mediocre player he didn’t immediately want to sign for five years. But even with some improvement, these are still two pieces of a secondary that ranked 31st against the pass per Football Outsiders; DVOA.

San Diego used addition by subtraction to improve at cornerback this offseason, releasing Derek Cox just one year after he signed a four-year/$20 million contract with the team. Considering Cox was only able to sign a one-year/$730,000 contract with the Minnesota Vikings after being released, cutting ties was the right move. The Chargers did little else to improve at cornerback, though.

With just under $4 million of cap space remaining per Spotrac, there’s not too many moves Telesco can make. The Chargers clearly weren’t in the financial shape to bring in one of the top cornerbacks on the market, but they didn’t need to bring in a top tier player. The strange silver lining of having a glaring weakness at any position is upgrading becomes relatively simple. It’s much easier to improve from bad to average than it is from average to good. There’s plenty of league average players who become free agents every year. Rarely are there exceptional players who can shift the effectiveness of a unit on his own. The Chargers, luckily, kind of, only need to get to average to improve.

  • Paul

    I couldn’t disagree more. He learned his lesson last year with cox. Addae will start safety. Move gilchrist back to corner and let williams, Marshall and ghee battle it out. Deep draft for corners. I think we get WR or corner back with first pick. Best available at either position. Then beef up I line and pass rush.

    • Tucker

      Well Walter Thurmond and Antonio Cromartie are still on market and both those players, especially Walter, r better than what we got

  • jeremy

    I totally disagree. It’s like people weren’t watching the last 7 games when Richard Marshall came in to replace cox. The secondary VASTLY improved. You need to go back and watch the tape of marshall, he held his own and will do an amazing job backing up and nmentoring a first or second rounder from the draft. Why would you need to sign ANOTHER mediocre cb, we have like 6 of them? And don’t tell me asante Samuel or anything left on the market is any better than marshall

  • Jordan

    I agree with Paul, I think Telesco handled this free agency really well. I look at the contract that the Giants gave DRC and I just laugh because he is so vastly over payed. If we can get someone like Verrett in the draft, with Gilchrist as our #2 let Williams, Marshall and Ghee battle for depth, our secondary isn’t great but should be better. I wouldn’t mind getting someone like Dee Ford in the first if he is available, one way to make a weak secondary better is pressure the qb.

  • Bubba Gump

    Whoever wrote this clearly has no idea what they’re talking about.

  • Justin

    Is the author aware we signed the from the bengals? Anyways, I have faith we will pickup solid CBs in the draft

    • Justin

      Ghee*

  • Anonymous

    Ghee*

  • Mariano

    We already know what we have in Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall but we still haven’t gotten to see Steve Williams, Marcus Cromartie, Brandon Jones, Crezdon Butler, and the newly signed Brandon Ghee.

  • Brandon

    I disagree with the article. It’s not like the draft is tomorrow. There is still time to bring in another CB or hopefully a DT.

    Last year we all thought LT had be drafted first, but it worked out well anyway.

    I am willing to trust Telescope.

  • Nigel

    I was told by a Charger LB that Marcus Cromartie is gonna be bad ass. He spoke highly of his skill set so we might be better off than we think. Brandon Taylor is still in the mix. We’ve all seen brother Jahleel training hard for us. I knew he was gonna make the team last season. Let’s trust Tom and Mike. To become a championship team is not just drafting top notch players but developing average players to become top notch players.