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For Tom Telesco, 'a drive and desire to be great' are paramount traits when evaluating draft prospects

Tom Telesco is starting to get a full grasp of all he inherited with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders general manager addressed the media at the NFL Combine on Tuesday afternoon, a month following his initial arrival to the organization. One would assume he had a decent knowledge of the Raiders, considering he spent 11 seasons as the GM of the division rival Los Angeles Chargers.

Yet, his new team and its environment have pleasantly exceeded his initial expectations.

"There are a lot of people in the building that are really impressive in what they do, in all different kind of departments, and that's things you know until you get there," Telesco told local media. "That's been great to see. Actually, the building itself has been amazing."

After watching last year's film and getting to know the players and personnel in the building, he's starting to truly understand the identity of "The Raider Way."

"I think the one thing that jumped off kind of doing a deeper dive is how tough a football team it was, and I would say that on offense, defense and the kicking game," Telesco said of looking at last season's roster. "Tough, resilient and really committed to the process. Just watching the whole situation, how the season played out from how it started and then your head coach is no longer there, and then how you finished it with a new head coach. But a really tough-minded, mentally tough football team."

Telesco also alluded to several areas of improvement needed to be made. While pleased with the way Aidan O'Connell handled himself as a rookie starter, he stated that the Raiders will "explore every avenue" in bringing in another quarterback via draft or free agency. He also believes the offensive line and skill position players could be bolstered to surround O'Connell or the next starting quarterback to be.

As the evaluation process continues, Telesco has been able to mesh well with Antonio Pierce, finding value in him as a person and a football mind. The team finalized the coaching staff last week in what Telesco said was a through process from the first-time head coach.

With Pierce's large personality, the general manager is happy being the 'yin' to his 'yang'.

"I'm so boring it kind of evens its way out, because I never say anything that's remotely interesting and he's the other way," joked Telesco. "I think that will be good for the Raiders. You want to have an identity of who you are, and I want to lean into the Raiders identity."

With a full week of scouting ahead of them, Telesco and his staff will conduct dozens of interviews and physicals on the 2024 draft class while also watching the prospects take part in drills. The general manager is not looking to re-invent the wheel, but to bring players in that fit the Raiders identity already in place.

"For every player, a drive and desire to be great – those are two things that you have to have in this league," Telesco said. "Every team is good, every team has talent, but when we bring players in her,e you have to have a drive to be great and a drive to be better."

View photos of the draft prospects that top analysts are predicting the Raiders may select at No. 13 overall. (Last updated Tuesday, February 27, 2024).

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