Even after a year in which he led the league in interceptions, there’s still one thing we know about Philip Rivers: he’s good. Like, really good. Like, good enough to turn undrafted free agent Tyrell Williams into a 1,000 yard receiver good.
Unfortunately, as we learned this year, Williams isn’t very close to becoming a No. 1 receiver yet. And Travis Benjamin didn’t exactly blow the top off the defense like we thought he would. And Dontrelle Inman is still just a solid backup. Keenan Allen can be a top receiver in this league…when healthy. He missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 1. Allen is yet to prove his ability to stay healthy, a cause for concern in a league where a player’s best ability is his availability.
If the Chargers want to be relevant for the first time since 2013, a year in which they lost to Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs, they need to draft a wide receiver with the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft. People talk about bringing in a new strength and conditioning coach and changing the way the training staff works with the players, but the fact is, football is the most violent sport there is. The Chargers get really unlucky with injuries year after year, and there’s no reason to think that trend will change. The team needs to acquire depth at wide receiver in order to improve the offense and turn the ball over less often. The entire defense should be fine, besides safety, and they don’t need running back or tight end help. That leaves the offensive line and wide receivers. I believe the Chargers can find a quality offensive lineman in a later round, as they must draft a receiver with their first-round pick.
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There are several options for Tom Telesco at wide receiver in this draft:
- Mike Williams, Clemson: With Deshaun Watson at quarterback, Williams emerged as an elite deep threat and red zone target in his career at Clemson. His 6’3″, 225 pound frame makes him exactly the type of receiver Rivers likes. Though not as big as past receivers like Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd, he would still be the Bolts’ biggest one on the field.
- Corey Davis, Western Michigan: At 6’3″, 213, Davis is slightly smaller than Williams and faced weaker talent in his college career. He’s coming off a season, however, in which he had 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns.
- John Ross, Washington: Unlike the aforementioned prospects, Ross is a smaller, faster receiver. He goes 5’11”, 190 and can really stretch the field. Drafting Ross would give the Chargers two similar receivers, the other being Benjamin.
Other options for the Bolts include Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel and SMU’s Courtland Sutton.