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Chargers GM Tom Telesco ready for second wave of free agency

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers will introduce newly signed free agents receiver Travis Benjamin, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and safety Dwight Lowery at Chargers Park Thursday afternoon.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco might have a few minutes to help out with the player introduction, but more likely he’ll continue to work the phones as San Diego looks to add more pieces for the 2016 season.

“The first day is all market-driven between how many teams need what and what players are available,” Telesco told Dan Sileo of The Mighty 1090 AM radio in this interview. “And after that first wave goes through, there tends to be a couple days. And as the dust settles, you kind of see what’s left.

“Last year it was Patrick Robinson, and a couple years ago it was Danny Woodhead. So we still monitor who’s going to be out there. We turn our attention to the draft heavily, but we’re still not done. There still could be some players out there that could help us, and we’ll still work through. There still could be some players released from different teams that are signing free agents, so we’ll continue to monitor that.”

As far as moving down in the draft, Telesco said he had some brief discussions with teams at the NFL scouting combine in February, but nothing extensive.

“Those calls usually come more towards early April,” Telesco said. “Especially after the first free agency period goes through and teams see what they’ve signed, what they have and they start to look at their draft board and look to fill some of their other needs. So not too much yet, but we’ll see as we get closer to the draft.”

Telesco said one of the attractions of bringing on Benjamin was his work ethic. Benjamin grew up chasing rabbits in Belle Glade, Florida as they retreated from nearby cane fields.

“We’re excited about Travis,” Telesco said. “The interesting thing about him is when we talked to people, just trying to gauge some background on players – whether it was a former player, a former front office person there or a former coach – when you asked them about Travis, you think logically the first thing they would say is that he’s very fast, quick and can return punts.

“But the first thing that almost universally that people told us about him is how hard he works. And he won’t be outworked. That’s the thing that – even us here – sometimes you miss in free agency, making sure that people can come in and fit in your culture and fit in with everybody. And we want guys and need guys that can work like that.”

Telesco said the Chargers believe Mebane can help improve one of the worst run defense of 2015 last year for San Diego.

“We think Brandon can fill a really nice role for us as far as being a presence inside at the nose tackle spot,” Telesco said. “He comes from a very good defense in Seattle. On a defense with a lot of leaders and a lot of great players, he was one of those players, too.

“He’s always played a tilted nose at Seattle. He’s played it very well. And he’s a player with his style, it’s hard to run to his side of the formation with the way that he plays. And we need players like that. And he can help a lot of players around him, whether it’s Corey [Liuget] that’s playing beside him, or the linebackers behind him.”

And Telesco will not rule out Lowery serving as a potential stop-gap for the departed Eric Weddle in free agency.

“Dwight’s played very good football the last, two years,” Telesco said. “He’s been a very productive player. His thing is he’s very smart, instinctive. He’s always been around the ball, whether it’s been college or his professional career. And there’s a lot of things we liked about him.

“There’s a big element of scouting for what our pro department goes through in trying to figure out who can come in and help us. And he’s a player that is proven as far as playing at the free safety position. And he’s played it pretty well. So we’re excited to get him. And we’ll see how it plays out as we move into August.”