Have the Chargers improved at Wide Receiver in 2013?

Stephen Dunn

Much of the Wide Receiver corps remains in tact from last year. There have been some changes this year, but were they enough to improve a group that struggled last year?

The Chargers lost star receiver Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. A.J. Smith tried to fill the void with two free–agent receivers in Ronaldo Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. Many of us thought, "cool, we have a new downfield thread and a slot threat now, that should make up for Vincent Jackson."

Wrong.

2012 in Review

Player Rec Yds Y/R Long TDs
Malcom Floyd 56 814 14.5 39 5
Danario Alexander 37 658 17.8 80 7
Eddie Royal 23 234 10.2 31 1
Robert Meachem 14 207 14.8 46 2
Micheal Spurlock 9 79 8.8 13 0
Seyi Ajirotutu 3 45 15.0 28 0
Vincent Brown 0 0 0.0 0 0
Richard Goodman 0 0 0.0 0 0

I have to wonder just how much Norv, A.J. and Co. expected Vincent Brown to pick up a lot of the slack left behind following VJ's departure. We'll never know thanks to Brown's exploding ankle.

Okay, so Brown is just one player. What about the other two guys picked up in Free Agency? We were promised a speedy deep threat in Robert Meachem. What we got was ... nothing. Eddie Royal in the slot or a check-down receiver? Nope.

Six games into the season, A.J. knew the team was in deep, and picked ip Danario Alexander off the street; what a surprisingly good move that was. (Amusing note: Danario Alexander threw more passes in the regular season than Charlie Whitehurst did.)

Oh, and I had totally forgotten Seyi Ajirotutu returned to the team just to be placed on IR.

2013 Chargers Wide Receivers

No. Player Size Age Experience School
84 Danario Alexander 6'5", 217lb 24 4 Missouri
13 Keenan Allen 6'2", 211lb 21 R Cal
86 Vincent Brown 5'11", 184lb 24 3 San Diego State
3 Deon Butler 5'10", 182lb 27 4 Penn State
82 Dan DePalma 5'11", 192lb 23 R West Chester (Pa.)
80 Malcom Floyd 6'5", 225lb 31 8 Wyoming
15 Richard Goodman 6'0", 192lb 26 3 Florida State
12 Robert Meachem 6'2", 215lb 28 7 Tennessee
2 Luke Tasker 5'11", 190lb 22 R Cornell
10 Mike Willie 6'2", 220lb 23 R Arizona State
11 Eddie Royal 5'10", 185lb 27 6 Virginia Tech

So the veterans are all returning. Even though it's his third year with the team, I really think the biggest addition to the Wide Receivers in 2013 will be Vincent Brown.

In addition to the returning veterans, Telesco and crew added 4 rookies and a "veteran" free agent (Deon Butler).

There's a lot of excitement surrounding Keenan Allen, but given his apparent fragility and the curse of the Chargers Wide Receivers last year, I wouldn't hold out much hope for him to make a huge impact this year while on IR. Oh I'm sorry, is my pessimism showing?

In fact, Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander both have a history of being rather injury-prone, so Allen should fit right in. There, optimism!

Okay, so we know Wide Receivers are prone to injury; it's a hazard of the job. It's apparent that depth at the position is needed. But no team is going to carry 11 Wide Receivers, that's just foolish.

Edge: 2013

2013 gets the slight edge thanks to the return of Vincent Brown. Looking at this list — and knowing the financial details of their contracts — it's hard to see the first 5 WR spots on the depth chart being occupied by anyone other than the same 4 that ended the 2012 season, plus Vincent Brown.

Keenan Allen has a lot of potential, but he has yet to prove he's not injury prone in the NFL and it's very difficult for a rookie Wide Receiver to make an immediate impact on an NFL team.

Mike McCoy has coached Eddie Royal in Denver previously, so here's hoping he knows how to use him to his full potential. And there is still some hope that Meachem could be better utilized in the new system being installed by McCoy and Whisenhunt.

I could be wrong, and do tell me that I am in the comments below. Do you think the WR corps is improved from last year? Who makes the team and who's here just as camp fodder?

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