clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

PFF: Chargers have 13th-best receiving corps in NFL

It's hard to argue with the Chargers' receiving corp ranking.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon McGuinness of PFF ranked all 32 NFL receiving corps heading into the 2016 season. The Chargers' receivers are highlighted by the recently extended Keenan Allen and the future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates. They lost veteran wideout Malcom Floyd to retirement, but they added big-ticket free agent Travis Benjamin from the Cleveland Browns to replace him.

Pro Football Focus ranked them 13th overall and here's what Gordon had to say about the Chargers receivers:

Keenan Allen was on pace for the highest receiving-yardage total of his three-year career before a kidney injury wrecked his season in Week 8. That didn’t stop the Chargers from handing him a contract extension, though, and it’s hard to blame them, given his potential. Allen has forced 35 missed tackles on 223 receptions so far in his career, and figures to be the Chargers’ top wide receiver for most of the next decade—provided he can stay healthy. San Diego did make some improvements around him, though, adding former Cleveland Browns deep-threat Travis Benjamin early in free agency. Benjamin notched eight receptions for 363 yards and four touchdowns on passes traveling 20+ yards downfield last season, despite the Browns’ issues at quarterback; that deep-threat ability will fit in well with San Diego. With tight end Antonio Gates getting up there in years, they added his long-term replacement in Hunter Henry (Arkansas). Owning the highest receiving grade of all college TEs a year ago, Henry can make an impact for the Chargers in year one.

Allen's season-ending injury in 2015 was of a fluke variety, so it's reasonable to expect a full return to form in 2016. He was on pace to shatter LaDainian Tomlinson's franchise record for receptions and there is little reason to believe he won't challenge it again. Benjamin won't be able to replace the chemistry and general trust Philip Rivers had with Floyd, but he will provide a top-end speed the Chargers' passing game has not had in years. Rivers throws one of the more accurate deep balls in football and he will get a lot of opportunities to show that off with Benjamin on the outside.

Stevie Johnson goes unmentioned by McGuinness, but he received 15.6% of the team target share (25 targets on 268 snaps) when all three starting receivers (Allen, Floyd, and Johnson) were healthy last season, which while a significant drop from Allen's share was more than Floyd saw. He was also the primary receiver once Allen was lost for the year.

Antonio Gates is undeniably "getting up there in years," but he was still very effective when healthy in 2015. He finished seventh in Football Outsiders' DYAR between Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. And while the team lost Ladarius Green, McGuinness points out that Henry is certainly poised to make an immediate impact as he enters the NFL as more of a refined route runner and blocker than most rookie tight ends. That said, rookie tight ends historically struggle.

Overall, the 13th-place ranking is certainly reasonable and McGuinness does not neglect to address anything that would impact the analysis.