The Coast News Group
Community Sports

Jay Paris: Bolts need a jolt in draft

The Chargers are about to go eeny, meeny, miny, moe and they can’t miss, right?

Don’t answer that.

The NFL bunch that won four games last year is feeling a draft. Good thing, because it’s an outfit in need of a new bolt and a jolt.

With the No. 3 overall pick, the Chargers are primed to get a top-shelf player. In next week’s dispersal of college talent, the Chargers have eight picks in the seven rounds.

But it’s at No. 3 where all eyes turn as it just might be the most important pick in franchise history.

No pressure, hey Tom Telesco?

Telesco, the GM, gets paid the big bucks to be keen and savvy during the draft’s three rounds. Just know the team’s big shots are hoping Telesco is on his game.

But most important pick in club history?

Maybe it’s a stretch, but not by much.

The Chargers need a lot of things to fall their way in getting their way with a downtown stadium, which comes with a convention center. With the signature drive for the initiative to make it happen starting Saturday, there’s no time like now for the Chargers to change the local narrative.

Positioned where they are in the draft can create a buzz, a spark, a current of energy that maybe gets folks back talking Chargers football instead of Chargers stadium follies.

The Rams, the Chargers’ possible landlord if this San Diego stadium business doesn’t work, has made their splash. They traded a boatload of draft picks and the Hollywood sign to the Titans for the draft’s first pick.

It’s believed a quarterback is the prize they seek. If they take either North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz of California’s Jared Goff, it’s believed the other quarterback heads for Philadelphia at No. 2.

Which means all of this has worked out swimmingly for the Chargers. By not lifting a finger, they can get the top-rated player — save a quarterback — in the draft.

The question is which way the Chargers lean and they can’t get it wrong, can they?

Not sure but we’re still waiting for Melvin Gordon, last year’s first-round pick, to score a touchdown. Or rush for 100 yards in a game.

So it’s no slam dunk for any organization to shine at this spot. Although one likes the Chargers’ chances, even if previous draft- day miscues kept them out of the playoffs for five of the past six years.

They’ll be enticing options at No. 3, which will include Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey will also be available, a tempting pick to fill the secondary hole left by All-Pro Eric Weddle.

Like pass rushers? Ohio State linebacker Joey Bosa and Oregon’s DeForest Buckner will be there.

The Chargers’ Jason Verrett, at this week’s offseason workouts, was signing the praises of Buckner.

That produced a predictable chuckle from quarterback Philip Rivers.

“That makes sense, coming from a corner,” Rivers said. “You hear about all the different things we can do, but who knows? I try not to, because you just drive yourself crazy thinking about it now. But I’ll be paying attention here in a few days.”

Or might Telesco trade down and address the Chargers’ numerous needs?

We doubt it. The Chargers are in the business of winning games and winning over fans, i.e. voters, in short order. They need a singular big thing instead of a bunch of little things that might work out over time.

The Chargers don’t possess any of that precious quantity — time — to waste. They need to rebuilt a team and get the OK to construct a stadium between now and mid-November.

On the clock? The Chargers can hear it ticking, on and off the field.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports.