Raiders hire ex-Chargers GM Tom Telesco over Dodds or Kelly

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis decides the experience of Tom Telesco is needed to help rookie head coach Antonio Pierce.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced on Tuesday afternoon that they hired Tom Telesco as their general manager.

Telesco is coming to the Raiders after spending 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers. There is a strong familiarity with the AFC West.

Raiders owner Mark Davis’ decision came down to Telesco, assistant GM Champ Kelly, and Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. 

Davis went with the experienced general manager to go with his rookie head coach in, Antonio Pierce, who had a 5-4 record as an interim and won the job after earning players’ respect and ownership.

Telesco comes from the Bill Polian school of GM, which means he believes in building through the draft, coaching up the players, and then paying them. They use free agency to fill out the rest of the team, but the draft is the way to build the team.

So, what does the history of Telesco look like as a general manager?

There are some positives and some negatives to the tenure of Telesco.

Telesco has a good history of hitting on first-round draft picks.

Quarterback Justin Herbert is at the top of that list, as he is currently one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. 

Edge rusher Joey Bosa has played in 93 games and sacked the opposing quarterback 67 times. He has dealt with injuries but is a great pass rusher when healthy.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater is one of the best young left tackles in the game.

Safety Derwin James is a former all-pro safety and is one of the best safeties in the NFL.

They found running back Austin Ekeler during the 2017 preseason, and he turned into a solid running back for them.

Telesco did draft Keenan Allen in the third round of his first draft as a general manager, which was a steal.

He traded for Khalil Mack, who has 25 sacks in two seasons. He signed all-pro center Corey Linsley, cornerback Casey Hayward, left tackle Russell Okung, center Mike Pouncey, and running back Danny Woodhead, to name a few.

The Chargers cap situation has always been one of the best in the NFL. They have rarely, if ever, had issues.

Here are the negatives.

Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery was one of the worst first-round picks during his tenure. He had 10.5 sacks but 12 penalties that led to first downs, according to the AP’s Joe Reedy.

Linebacker Kenneth Murray hasn’t been what the team had hoped when they jumped back into the first round in 2020 to draft him.

One of the most significant issues has been that some of the top draft picks Telesco has selected have injury issues. Cornerback Jason Verrett is a perfect example. He had all-pro talent but couldn’t stay on the field.

Depth has also been a concern when it pertains to the Chargers team. That is built through the draft, and many of his picks didn’t hit. Telesco only re-signed four picks drafted in the second round or later. They are linebacker Denzel Perryman, right tackle Trey Pipkins, quarterback Easton Stick, and receiver Keenan Allen.

Some of his worst signings feature cornerback J.C. Jackson, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Derek Cox, guard Orlando Franklin, defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, and others. 

Telesco never won the AFC West in his 11 seasons as general manager and had a record of 84-95.

The AFC West has Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, Sean Payton in Denver, and the Chargers are looking for a new direction after they fired Telesco and head coach Brandon Staley, oddly enough, after the Raiders embarrassed them 63-21.

Now that the head coach is in place, seeing how Pierce and Telesco work together will be interesting. They have an estimated $45 million in cap space and have the 13th overall pick.

The AFC West is only getting more and more interesting.