Josh Palmer hails from Brampton, Ontario where he initially played for St. Roch Catholic Secondary School before transferring to the states to play for national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He ended his high school career as a three-star prospect and initially committed to play college football at Syracuse before changing his mind to Tennessee following his senior season.
Palmer’s time at Tennessee didn’t exactly play out in the same manner that you’d expect from a future NFL draft pick. Most players who end up getting drafted either produced at an elite level through most of their career or they have a rich pedigree behind them while playing in a stacked position group. For Palmer, he had neither while also failing to produce more than 500 receiving yards or five touchdowns in any given season.
His four years of production went as follows:
2017: 9 receptions, 98 yards
2018: 23 receptiona, 484 yards, two touchdowns
2019: 34 receptions, 457 yards, three touchdowns
2020: 33 receptions, 475 yards, four touchdowns
Those are certainly a far cry from what you’d expect the numbers to be from someone who was deemed one of the best wideouts coming out in his draft class.
Ultimately, Palmer was selected by the Chargers with the first of their two third-round picks in 2021. Despite the lack of production, the Chargers fell in love with him during the draft process which included his performance at that year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl.
As a rookie with the Bolts, Palmer caught 33 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns. He then set career highs in both receptions and yards with 72 and 769, respectively. He also added another three touchdowns to bring his career total to seven.
Years with team: 2
“Josh Palmer signed a 4 year, $5,032,438 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $1,019,676 signing bonus, $1,019,676 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,258,110. In 2023, Palmer will earn a base salary of $1,117,587, while carrying a cap hit of $1,372,506 and a dead cap value of $509,838.” - Spotrac.com
Palmer is a big-bodied receiver who fits the mold of what the Chargers have liked at the position. He doesn’t have notable speed, but his route-running and nuance on the field helps him win consistency in the short to intermediate range. However, Palmer did get open over the top of the Chiefs defense last year for a long touchdown so he did show everyone he has the chops to go deep, as well.
When given starter snaps, Palmer has shown to be just as productive as anyone else on the team. This has been huge for the Chargers, especially this past season when injuries hit both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at separate times.
Palmer has been a fairly steady contributor for the Chargers to the point where there aren’t any egregious shortcomings to his game that blatantly stand out. His lack of elite speed could be highlighted and his lack of YAC ability also hurt his stock when it comes to his potential to become a bonafide WR1 in this league, but I don’t think anyone has those expectations for him in the first place.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Palmer is a lock for the Chargers’ roster as one of the team’s top four wideouts. He’ll be in a battle for snaps with Quentin Johnston for most of the year and depending on if any injuries arise, he’ll be one of the biggest beneficiaries in terms of snaps and opportunities. After 353 receiving yards in 2021 and 769 in 2022, I expect Palmer’s 2023 production to land squarely between those numbers.