The Union-Tribune San Diego acknowledges second-year SS Brandon Taylor's (ACL surgery) status for training camp is "in question."
Taylor didn't have his knee reconstructed until January, giving him just seven months to rehab and recover before camp. The Chargers are auditioning former slot CB Marcus Gilchrist at strong safety in the meantime. Eric Weddle remains locked in at free safety, but the other position is wide open to competition.
In a conference call with season-ticket holders, Chargers GM Tom Telesco called Ryan Mathews a "playmaker" and said he expects "big things" from the fourth-year running back.
The new Chargers regime has shown nothing but support for Mathews, but beggars can't be choosers. Telesco inherited one of the NFL's least talented rosters. He called Mathews a "great kid" who "works extremely hard," and said the Colts would "game plan around" Mathews when Telesco worked in Indy's front office. At the Combine, Telesco went so far as to suggest injury-prone Mathews would be San Diego's 2013 "bellcow" runner. The only notable backfield addition has been passing-down specialist Danny Woodhead, giving Mathews perhaps his final opportunity to prove himself an NFL lead back.
Chargers selected Florida International DE Tourek Williams with the No. 179 overall pick.
Williams (6-2, 260) paced Florida International in tackles for loss (14.5) and sacks (6.5) as a senior. He's the best pass rusher to emerge from FIU since Antwan Barnes. Williams has explosiveness off the snap, but is often engulfed by blockers due to short arms (32 1/2"). He projects as a situational nickel end and special teamer for the Bolts.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco anticipates second-year OG Johnnie Troutman competing for a starting job in camp.
Troutman is an old-regime holdover who didn't play as a rookie due to multiple injuries, but San Diego has arguably the worst offensive line in the league and they can't afford to gloss over any inherited pieces. If the season began today, we suspect the Chargers' line would look like this: LT King Dunlap, LG Troutman, C Nick Hardwick, RG Chad Rinehart, and RT D.J. Fluker. That's ugly.
GM Tom Telesco conceded that second-round ILB Manti Te'o may not play on passing downs as a rookie.
"Third down is a very complicated down. So we'll see how that plays out," Telesco said. "If it's this year, it's this year. If it's next year, it's next year." Te'o did show rapid improvement on third downs at Notre Dame, but that came mostly via feel and football awareness. Hiding a lack of elite athleticism at the NFL level will be much more difficult. IDP owners need to keep expectations in check as Takeo Spikes managed just 79 tackles, 0.5 sacks and zero interceptions as a two-down inside 'backer for the Chargers last season.
GM Tom Telesco confirmed that Jeromey Clary is open to playing guard.
Clary started 14 games at right tackle last season, grading out 38th among 80 overall qualifiers according to Pro Football Focus. Thanks to the selection of Alabama's D.J. Fluker and the loss of Louis Vasquez in free agency, Clary will kick inside. He's a little oversized for the role at 6'6/320, but he accepts that he's not an option at left tackle.
Marcus Gilchrist is expected to compete for playing time at both corner and safety.
A second-round pick in 2011, Gilchrist has served mostly as the Chargers' nickel corner. He's been average at best and now the team has a hole at strong safety, where Brandon Taylor is coming off an ACL tear. GM Tom Telesco lauded Gilchrist's versatility Wednesday.