We’ve talked about how deep the Los Angeles Chargers are at the wide receiver position right now, and as we get down to the last few players in our ongoing undrafted rookie spotlight, it’s time to focus on one of the smallest players on the roster, who also happens to be a wide receiver.
The Chargers have a little bit of everything at the wide receiver position. Big, strong targets who can go up and high point the ball, veteran experience and speed to get behind the defense is all on this Chargers roster. Undrafted rookie Mitchell Paige brings a different element.
At just 5’7″ and 170 pounds, there are people who are going to look at Paige’s height and weight and already count him out. But don’t you figure that has been the case his entire life?
A college teammate of third-round pick Dan Feeney at Indiana, Paige was a reliable target for the Hoosiers during his junior and senior seasons at the school. He had 115 receptions for 1,330 yards and 10 touchdowns during those two years.
Paige wasn’t even one of the Chargers’ initial undrafted signings. The team brought him in after deciding not to sign Ohio State’s Dontre Wilson due to an injury concern. That shows you how many teams passed on Paige.
In Los Angeles, he will have to work his way into a useful role on the team, but certain offenses have a need for small slot receivers who can win matchups in the middle of the field. Look at the Dallas Cowboys. They liked what they had in Cole Beasley so much that they used a fourth-round pick on North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer in this past draft. Switzer is a bit taller than Paige at 5’10”, but they’re playing style is similar.
If you want a more recognized comparison, Wes Welker was only 5’9″ and he was one of the best slot receivers in league history. He was also undrafted.
Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This isn’t to say that Paige will be the next Welker. Right now, he’s not even on the level of Beasley or even Switzer. But he’s on a roster, so he’ll have the chance to carve out a role.
That said, you have to figure that several spots on the roster are all but guaranteed at the wide receiver position. Barring injury, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin will make the team. Dontrelle Inman, while not guaranteed a spot, will be hard to beat out due to his familiarity with the team. The Chargers likely won’t keep more receivers than that, and Paige will still have to contend with the emerging Jamaal Jones and fellow undrafted rookie Artavis Scott.
As a result, he’s playing for a role on the practice squad.
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I feel there is just too much competition for Paige to get noticed this summer. I believe Scott is a much better option than him and will make the practice squad at the very least. I also believe Jones and even the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, Andre Patton, could be better options.
Paige will gain valuable experience this summer, but I think that’s about it. I don’t think he is a player that will make the team or the practice squad. However, if he contributes in preseason games and shows that he could play the slot role in the NFL, he could catch on with another team that doesn’t have as many options at the wide receiver position.