Over the past two seasons, wide receiver Jalen Guyton has done his best to fulfill his role as a deep-threat wideout with potential to take the top off the defense. During the 2020 season, he averaged a notable 18.3 yards per reception and played a key role in kickstarting the hype that would continue to grow and flourish around then-rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
In their second year together, Herbert and Guyton combined to produce similar stats in terms of yardage (511 vs. 448) and touchdowns (three both years), but the latter’s yards per reception average dropped to 14.3 due to a lack of explosive plays throughout the year. Despite that, Guyton still found a way to land on the other end of what many would consider to be the throw of the year.
For a quick reminder, here you go:
All of this is a long-winded introduction to the whole point of this piece, which is that Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton selected Guyton as his player on the Chargers that is on the cusp of a breakout season and he believes 2022 could be that year.
“Guyton, an undrafted free agent from North Texas in 2019, is knocking at the door of a breakout,” says Wharton. “He’s quickly established himself as a premier part-time player, averaging 16.3 yards per catch between 2020 and 2021. The growth as a reliable receiver increased in year three, though, as he caught 64.6 percent of targets compared to 50.9 percent in 2020.”
“The 6’1”, 212-pound burner should benefit from the Chargers’ continued investment into the offensive line. Giving Justin Herbert more time to throw with more receivers on the field is one way to increase the upside to the offense. Guyton is primed to be a featured piece in this offense if given the opportunity.”
The Chargers offense in 2021 started slow through it’s first handful of games and that earned offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi some criticism from the fans who were expecting a direct sequel to the fireworks it got the previous season. Luckily, Herbert and the offense started to find some more juice near the midway point and that ended up carrying the second-year passer to a 5,000-yard passing season where he was only one of two players this past year (Tom Brady) to accomplish the feat.
This upcoming season, fans are probably hoping for a healthy middle between the 2020 and 2021 offenses. They want the insane eye-popping plays while also mixing in the high-efficiency, drive-continuing decisions that may not exactly thrill viewers. When it comes to that first part, Guyton is still the main man for the job after the Chargers chose to pass on adding any other viable receiver with comparable speed and skillset. While second-year receiver Josh Palmer figures to receive an uptick in snaps with a year of pro ball under his belt, the Chargers are still expected to deploy Guyton at a reasonable rate to threaten defenses in a way Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Palmer cannot.
Lastly, if Guyton does indeed see a breakout season come to pass this year, that will also allow the Chargers to check a potential 2023 draft need off their list. That’s certainly something all fans should be rooting for.