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San Diego Chargers training camp battles: wide receiver

Kyle Posey breaks down the training camp competition at wide receiver.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

With the recent injury to Stevie Johnson, the Chargers suddenly have a spot for their number 3 receiver available. The Johnson news is troublesome, but it's not the end of the world. He didn't play nearly as well as I anticipated last year. Once Keenan Allen went out with an injury, Johnson showed he just doesn't have what it takes to be "the guy" anymore. So that leaves the team with a couple of different options at receiver. Let's talk through them.

The Stud

It's clear who the number 1 receiver on the team is. This sounds terrible, but honestly, the injury might be a blessing in disguise for Allen who should be bumped to the slot almost full time. He should rake there. Whether it's working to the second level finding soft spots in zones:

Or quick crossers where he has an opportunity to get yards after the catch. This will be great for the offense.

This is exciting to see them work on the back shoulder fade because with Allen's size and Rivers' touch this should be a given play a few times a game. Especially in the goal line.

The Vet

With the recent signing of former Packers WR James Jones, you have to think the veteran gets a shot ahead of the younger guys. I imagine he'll be able to pick up things quickly and get acclimated with the offense in no time. I watched the games last year when the Packers played the AFC West to get a feel for what Jones is bringing to the table.

Versus the Chiefs, Jones balled out. He ran some very good routes, created easy separation against both of their stud corners on the outside. It was impressive. Far from a burner, but Jones does this thing on his deep routes where he dips his shoulder to get on top of the CB and in better position. It's a savvy move. If not for a couple of slants, Jones was open on the majority of his routes.

Against the Raiders, he didn't have the same luck. He was flagged for two offensive pass interferences, yes they were both ticky tack but had much more trouble creating separation.

You can still see the type of chemistry and trust Aaron Rodgers had in Jones. That'll be something Rivers will have to develop with him over the next month if he is going to be effective. One thing I liked about Jones' routes is on deeper curls he basically runs a double move then stops, to create separation. More savvy moves from the veteran.

The Wildcard

Tyrell Moss Williams is the ultimate wildcard. There's been plenty of talk of "how well he's been doing all offseason." Then you hear how he's been running with the first team and getting more and more reps. As he should. He didn't have much usage last year, but he was mainly a guy to "take the top off of a defense."

Surprisingly played in the slot more than I remember. Here is the last game of the season where he played the majority of the second half.

He has some things to work on technique wise, no doubt. That's something that I'll be paying extra close attention to during these games. Is he letting defenders get into his frame and rerouting him? That's a big question. But woo boy can this kid run. He has a gear that you almost have to put on the field a few times and throw it up. My guy Carlos was at practice yesterday and still confirmed Williams is getting ample time with the 1's. Garrett said the same a couple of days ago as well.

The Free agent

We've already gone in depth about what Travis Benjamin brings to the table. I have high hopes for him because he is much more than a deep threat. I also think he's more of a perimeter receiver, despite his size. There have been murmurs that Benjamin isn't picking up the offense as quickly as hoped and that's why we've seen him running exclusively with the 2's so far. I'm guessing that'll change now that the pads come on, and his talent will prevail. have

The leftovers

I think Dontrelle Inman proved last year that he is truly "just a guy." When Allen was out he was not very effective, aside from 1 game or a flash play here and there. He's a number 4 in this league, and that's no sleight on him it just is what it is at this point. Javontee Herndon is more of a return guy, and that showed last year when he had trouble getting open if the team didn't throw it to him right away. Not to mention he missed some key blocks that would've helped spring the running backs on screens. Simply put, Herndon shouldn't make the roster. No need for him as a return guy and as a receiver, he just doesn't cut it. Inman would be the number 5 guy unless there's an all-star from the preseason that forces the team's hand. Inman is going to have to show out on special teams I'm guessing to make the roster.

Ideally, It's Allen, Benjamin and a mix of Jones and Williams depending on the situation. Williams takes the next step in his development and possibly becomes a 20 catch guy, but his vertical speed alone helps everyone else out on the offense. Who are you most excited to see at fanfest and during the preseason?