He signed Super Bowl champions Chris Harris Jr., Bryan Bulaga and Linval Joseph. Then, after selecting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick, he traded up to make a second first-round selection in Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
The Bolts are tired of chasing the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. The hope, as they’ve unveiled new uniforms and prepare for the 2020 season at brand-new SoFi Stadium, is that their retooled roster gives them a fighting chance against the defending Super Bowl champions while boosting a fledgling fan base in L.A.
"It's going to be a little bit of a new era of Charger football, and not just stadium-wise, but football team-wise," Telesco told Fox Sports radio. "But it's exciting, it really is, to try and build this, build it the right way, get people behind us. We're starting from scratch."
According to Telesco, the Bolts have improved their roster on paper this offseason. "But paper doesn't mean anything," he said.
It could be a while before the Chargers learn what their new-look team can do. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Chargers -- like the rest of the NFL -- have been unable to host a typical offseason program and have been forced to hold meetings and instruction via videoconferencing.
"Under the circumstances, we have to just change some things up, and just try to coach it up the best we can," said Anthony Lynn, who is entering his fourth season as Chargers coach. "And one team's gonna do it better than the other 31, and hopefully that one team is us."
The Chargers will undergo more changes schematically this offseason than usual.
Gone is veteran quarterback Philip Rivers after 16 seasons. He was a beloved figure but threw 20 interceptions to only 23 touchdowns last season as the Bolts stumbled to a 5-11, last-place division finish.
Tyrod Taylor, a nine-year veteran who has served mostly as a backup, will take over as starter, with Herbert expected to learn from the sideline. The Bolts will alter their offense to suit an agile quarterback, versus their game plan with the immobile Rivers.
"It's a mobile group that allows you, I think, to open your offense up and do some different things," said Lynn, referring to not only the quarterbacks but also the skill players. "And they put pressure on the defense in a different way than before."
Receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams provide experienced targets for Taylor and are both coming off 1,000-yard seasons. Tight end Hunter Henry will earn $10.6 million this season on the franchise tag and will attempt to improve on last season’s career-best 55 receptions.
Virtual learning this offseason might force players to learn more intricacies of the playbook, but Williams insisted there's nothing like catching the ball from your quarterback.
"The connection and the chemistry is the main thing," Williams said. "Us knowing the plays, me knowing the route, and everything else don't really matter. At the end of the day, he got to know my speed. I got to know how he throws the ball."
The Bolts shored up the right side of their offensive line by adding Bulaga on a three-year, $30 million contract and trading for right guard Trai Turner. Center Mike Pouncey also is expected to return after recovering from neck surgery that sidelined him after Week 5 last season. While left tackle is uncertain, coaches have expressed confidence that Sam Tevi or Trey Pipkins can fill the role.
On defense, the Bolts will again be anchored by Pro Bowl ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III, but they added Joseph on a two-year, $17 million contract to plug the interior. Harris, the veteran cornerback who played nine seasons in Denver, is a luxury addition in a secondary that returns Derwin James, Desmond King II and Casey Hayward Jr.
Then there's Murray. The Chargers traded a second- and third-round pick to the New England Patriots to move up to select him at No. 23 overall. Murray's versatility, along with adding Harris, could have a ripple effect on the defensive scheme.
However, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley -- who held the same post for the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 lockout -- has emphasized the importance of installing a scheme that can be simplified for his own players' benefit during these uncertain circumstances.
"That's a core belief, is to try to get the defense to where younger players can come in and play early," Bradley said. "You never want to miss an offseason -- I think the guys are competing like crazy, as much as they can, in these meetings, but hopefully -- because of the way the system is designed we can pick up and gain speed pretty quick once we get back together."
The Chargers are confident the pieces they need to change their fortune in the division, and in L.A., are on the roster, but it's anyone's guess if they will be able to quickly mold into a division-contending team.
"You go through the offseason, you try to add to your team as best you can, you try to balance off offense, defense and special teams, then you want to get back on the field again to see exactly where you are to get ready for the season," Telesco said. "We think we have a good football team. You don't really know until you start going."