The Chargers head into camp with the wide receiver room being one of the deeper positions on the rosters, with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams leading the pack.
This season, Allen and Williams can be one of the better 1-2 punches under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, but the team still needs to identify their compliments.
Below them on the depth chart, Tyron Johnson, Jalen Guyton and rookie Josh Palmer are all trying to prove themselves to the new coaching staff.
Last season, Johnson amassed 20 receptions for 398 yards (19.9 yards per reception) and three touchdowns, with zero drops. Four of his first five receptions in the NFL went for 50 yards or more.
While he managed to put up decent production in his role, with 28 catches for 511 yards (18.3 yards per catch) and three scores, Guyton had six drops, and wasn’t quite as efficient as Johnson.
Palmer didn’t put up gaudy stats at Tennessee, never topping 500 receiving yards in a season due to playing in an offense that did him no favors, but he was a four-year contributor with a polished skill set and impressive size for this league.
However, unlike most teams, Los Angeles won’t likely have a bonafide No. 3 wideout.
The reason for that is because Lombardi’s offense is heavily predicated on matchups. Therefore, different receivers will consistently be rotating in depending on the defensive personnel they’re facing.
If speed is needed, one of Johnson or Guyton will be on the field. If the team needs another physical presence and someone who can get open with their route-running skills, they will roll with Palmer.
Either way, I expect all three to get a fair share of snaps this season.
The Chargers could head into the season with just Allen, Williams, Johnson, Guyton and Palmer, but they might elect to go in with six, which means there will be a battle on the back end for the last spot with Joe Reed, K.J. Hill, John Hurst, Jason Moore, Austin Proehl.
Reed, the team’s fifth-round draft pick of last year and Hill, the seventh rounder, are the presumed ones to beat.
Reed didn’t have many opportunities on offense. Instead, he served primarily as the kick returner. While he didn’t get to prove himself much, Reed’s special teams experience and versatility to work as a receiver and out of the backfield could be his selling point.
Hill, on the other hand, got more time on the field than Reed, but his productivity was nothing to boast about. He posted seven catches on 11 targets for 73 yards. In addition, Hill served as the team’s punt returner.
Proehl is another guy who could emerge. Signed this offseason, this will mark his fifth team since entering the league in 2018. With his surprising speed, ability to get open in all three areas of the field, competitiveness and special teams upside, Proehl might earn a spot.