LB Manti Te'o (USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Telesco is making the most of his first real chance to place his thumbprint on the organization. On Friday, he made the bold move to trade up in the second round for Notre Dame ILB Manti Te'o, then stuck to the "best player available" approach and plucked Cal WR Keenan Allen in the third round.
Tom Telesco is quickly establishing himself as the anti-A.J. Smith. On the first day of the NFL Draft, he chose offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, addressing a position Smith was notorious for neglecting.
On the draft's second day, Telesco traded up for one of college football's marquee names, Manti Te'o. That's a far cry from Smith's policy of purposely treading off of the beaten path.
San Diego gave away this year's fourth-round pick in the deal for Te'o. In return, the Chargers get a linebacker who excels against the run and pass. In 2012, he recorded 113 total tackles (including 5.5 for loss) and seven interceptions.
He will likely step right into the starting lineup alongside Donald Butler, taking over the inside linebacker position on the weak side of the defense.
Te'o is an instinctive player who rarely takes false steps. He is vocal and plays with terrific energy, drawing some comparisons to all-time Charger great Junior Seau. He diagnoses plays quickly and is a superb tackler. He must do a better job of getting off blocks, but that is correctable.
In the third round, Telesco went for value over need and selected WR Keenan Allen. This despite having more pressing needs at left tackle, cornerback, nose tackle and guard (the selection of Terron Armstead one pick before Allen was a tough blow).
Allen was projected by many to be a first-round pick. He has outstanding size (6-foot-2, 206 lbs.) and is incredibly smooth with elite hands. He has been compared favorably to Anquan Boldin because of his physicality and ability to put his body between the ball and the defender.
Allen finished his senior season with 61 catches for 737 yards and six scores, despite missing the final three games with a knee injury. He did not miss a game the season prior, when he ranked in the top-10 nationally with 98 catches and 1,343 receiving yards.
Unlike with Fluker and Te'o, it's difficult to project where Allen will fit in. The receiving corps hosts Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Richard Goodman (who will challenge for a roster spot because of his work on special teams). Alexander signed his restricted free agent tender earlier this week. Meachem's $5 million salary for 2013 is guaranteed.
If nothing else, the competition at receiver was just cranked up a notch.
San Diego has three picks on Saturday, one each in rounds five, six and seven.
What are your thoughts on San Diego's draft so far? Talk in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.