Chargers GM Tom Telesco in search of next Philip Rivers

Woody baffled by calls for Jackson to switch to WR (0:56)

Damien Woody is baffled by those who say former Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should convert to WR with the quarterbacks that some NFL teams play. (0:56)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Since 2006, the only quarterback to take meaningful snaps from center for the Los Angeles Chargers has been Philip Rivers.

It's been an impressive run for the NC State product, the NFL's active leader with 192 consecutive regular-season games started, but Rivers turns 37 at the end of the year. He had one of his best seasons as a pro in 2017, making his seventh Pro Bowl, but the Chargers have to start searching for his eventual replacement.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco hasn't drafted a quarterback since taking Brad Sorensen in the seventh round in 2013, his first year with the team.

"There's been an emphasis every year, certainly since I've got to the Chargers," Telesco said at this week's NFL scouting combine. "You never know when that opportunity is going to be there for that next quarterback, and we're in a great position because Philip is playing so well right now, and we feel really good about him.

"But we're also realistic to know that we have some work to do to plan for the future. The work we do and the resources we put in scouting that quarterback position is really no different than in past years."

The Chargers have a young, developmental prospect on the roster whom they like in Ohio State product Cardale Jones. They gave up a seventh-round selection in this year's draft in a trade with the Buffalo Bills to secure the services of Jones just before training camp last July.

The Chargers also could bring back pending unrestricted free agent Kellen Clemens, a close friend of Rivers. They commuted to work every day last season from San Diego to the team's new headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.

With the No. 17 overall selection in this year's draft, the top four quarterback prospects -- Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield -- likely will be out of reach.

However, one intriguing prospect who could catch the Chargers' eye is Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Coach Anthony Lynn likes quarterbacks who can threaten the defense with their running ability. The electric Jackson could be used in gadget plays his first couple of years in the league while he learns the offense and develops into a more polished signal-caller.

"When you have a guy who can move around a little bit like Lamar, you make a defense play 11-on-11," Lynn said. "And sometimes they think that's not fair. But when the offense can go 11-on-11, that's a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare. That's what he brings to the table."

The Chargers are in a good situation. Built to win now, the Bolts have a franchise quarterback playing winning football and could let a young quarterback like Jackson come in and learn the offense from an experienced pro.

Lynn said he wouldn't be opposed to taking a quarterback in the first round and letting him sit for a while.

"I plan on being here for the long haul," Lynn said. "If I can get my future quarterback right now, why wouldn't I? I'm just looking at the big picture here. We're trying to get better at every spot. And you never know what position is going to step up and help you win."

If the Chargers were to add a young, developmental quarterback prospect through the draft, Telesco said Rivers would have no problem serving as a mentor.

"There aren't many players that I've been around that are better team guys than Philip," Telesco said. "He's all about the team all the time, a son of a coach. He gets it. That would be the least of my worries."

Telesco said he wouldn't have a problem sitting a rookie for a while, even one drafted in the first round this year, if Rivers continues to play well.

"I wouldn't take any options off the table," Telesco said. "If the kid sits for a number of years, he sits for a number of years."

The Chargers also believe Jones remains a part of that conversation as an eventual replacement for Rivers. Telesco said that the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Jones steadily improved in practice last season and just needs some game reps for further evaluation.

"We're excited about the progress," Telesco said. "He's big, strong, athletic and throws the ball well. He's smart. He can make plays with his feet. So there's a lot of talent there. There's a lot of things to work with, but you'd like to see some live reps.

"We can't send him to NFL Europe. There's no other place to send him for those live quarterback reps. You can only get so much in practice, but we're excited about his development to see how far he can take it."