Roughly 13 percent of the roster is currently taken up by wide receivers. There are 13 currently under contract, and this number will most likely be cut down to 5 or 6 by the time the season starts. This is a deep group of guys led by one of the best in the league in Keenan Allen. This list is in order for the first 5, and the rest are JAGs... Just Another Guy.
Keenan Allen - He has salivating talent, and when he’s on the field, he’s the best player out there, hands down. The nuance to the routes he runs will leave much faster men staggering, and he’s very physical with the ball in his hands too. He has had terrible injury luck throughout his career, never injuring the same body part twice. Let’s hope the new strength and conditioning staff will be able to do a better job of preparing our favorite players for the stresses of the NFL, because if he can stay on the field this season, he could very well lead the league in receptions. When he’s on the field, Philip Rivers eyes are glued to him because when he’s covered, he really isn’t. In 2015, through 8 games, he was on pace to catch for 1450 yards, and 8 TDs on 134 receptions, which would demolish LT’s team record for receptions in a season. Let’s hope this alien can put a full season together. We’re all rooting for him.
Mike Williams - He’s a big guy (and Rivers happens to love guys like him), who led Clemson last season after missing the season prior due to a broken freaking neck. He received for 1351 yards and 11 TDs last season on 98 receptions. That’s all with a guy who isn’t very accurate with the ball. Now he’s got one of the most accurate passers in NFL history throwing to him, and he’ll undoubtedly make his presence felt early and often, especially in the red zone. He’s currently dealing with back spasms and has been held out of practice to not hurt himself more. He’s missing out on important time, and if he can get back on the field soon, he’ll carve out a significant role for himself in his rookie season.
Tyrell Williams - In his 2nd year in the league (after only 2 receptions the season prior), Tyrell bolted onto the scene, receiving for 1059 yards and 7 TDs. He quickly became Rivers’ favorite target with Keenan Allen hurt and Travis Benjamin underperforming. Despite his fantastic production, he made way too many drops, and cost Rivers more than a handful interceptions off of tips. He needs to make sure to bat the ball down if he can’t catch it, because no matter how good he is, if Rivers throws picks and it’s his fault, he won’t stick as a starter for long. With the Chargers drafting Mike Williams, Tyrell William’s days as a starter are numbered. He’ll play more of a specialized role where he can be the burner and not be leaned on every play.
Travis Benjamin - After signing a big money contract to be an explosive playmaker for the Chargers, he only appeared in about 50% of snaps for them, and didn’t see a special teams snap after week 6 due to his numerous fumbles and awful decision making while receiving kickoffs and punts. He ended up with 677 yards and 4 TDs, but didn’t have a game over 50 yards after week 7 until week 13, and had 5 games where he received for less than 25 yards. I’m not a fan of small receivers, and Benjamin did nothing to help that last season. If he can’t produce once again, he’ll most likely be cut after this season.
Dontrelle Inman - After Keenan Allen went down, Inman was promoted to be the WR1 of the Chargers and played pretty damn well if you ask me. He received for 810 yards and 4 TDs in his 3rd season in the league and played for pennies ($600,000) compared to Travis Benjamin (7.5 million), but clearly outplayed him. He’s not flashy, and he will not blow you away with his physical traits, but he’s very solid, extremely consistent, and relatively reliable. The Chargers keep putting lower round tenders on him, but they should lock him up to a multi-year extension... something in the neighborhood of 3 years, 8 million.
Da’Ron Brown - Drafted by the Chiefs in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL draft, Da’ron hasn’t played in an NFL game but has been with 5 teams, including the Chiefs, Patriots, Giants, Dolphins, and now Chargers. If 4 teams passed on him, I can’t see any way him being the next big thing. There really isn’t much info on him, and I don’t see him sticking with the Chargers this season. Jamie wrote this on him.
Isaiah Burse - One of the preseason favorites for Chargers fans, Burse has jumped between the active roster and the practice squad since 2015. In 9 games last season, he played significant time only on special teams, with 9 kickoff returns for 188 yards, and 15 punt returns for 96 yards, and no fumbles. In comparison, Travis Benjamin only had 9 punt returns, and fumbled 2 of them, while only returning the rest for 59 yards. If nothing else, Burse can be a solid, if not unspectacular special teams player. That and familiarity with Rivers could keep him around.
Geremy Davis - Appeared in 3 games last season after being signed off of the Giant’s practice squad. He set school records for receiving in college at UConn and has good size. He relies on his strength as his speed is subpar, and doesn’t run very good routes. Obviously, the Chargers saw enough to re-sign him this offseason, so we will see what he offers this preseason.
Jamaal Jones - A UDFA this season, he is a former high school basketball player and sounds to me like he runs pretty good routes, but doesn’t have the speed to create any separation. He’s an average sized guy at 6’1, 192, but lit it up for the Montana Grizzlies, receiving for 3021 yards and 22 TDs in 3 seasons. He may make his way onto the team through special teams, as he has experience with kick returns, but it seems doubtful. Here’s Jamie’s take.
Mitchell Paige - Go read Jamie’s article right now. He’s an extremely athletic guy who walked on at Indiana and ended up with 1330 yards and 10 TDs in his final two seasons. He impressed the Chargers enough to earn a contract after being an invite-only to minicamp, and people seem to love undersized receivers with a chip on their shoulder. Could he be the next Wes Welker? Probably not, but he will probably have one thing in common with Wes... he’ll have been cut by the Chargers.
Andre Patton - Played for Rutgers and had 460 yards and 5 TDs his senior year, but has good size and agility, so could turn some heads early. He’s one of my dark horse candidates to make the team.
Artavis Scott - Scott was a teammate of Mike Williams at Clemson and is incredibly smart, able to finish his bachelor’s degree in communication, in under 3 seasons. He has many accolades to his name, including All-ACC, and Freshman All-American, for his freshman season with 965 yards and 8 TDs. The next season, he received for 901 yards and 6 TDs. With the re-emergence of Mike Williams last season, Artavis was relegated to a smaller role last season, with just 592 yards on 71 catches, along with 5 TDs. He’s not a big guy, standing at 5’10, but may make a sure-handed and tough guy in the middle for the Chargers.
So there you have it. You have 5 locks for the team, and 7 guys competing for scraps and mainly special teams play.