Who will lead Los Angeles Chargers in receptions in 2017?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Chargers have put together one of the best receiving corps in the NFL and so long as everyone stays healthy, it will be one of the toughest to defend against.

Philip Rivers may put up a personal record for pass attempts this season. His eyes will widen as he drops back and sees some of the players he has to throw the rock to. But which one of these players is going to lead the team in pass catches?

The Chargers’ all-time single-season reception leader is actually a running back, as LaDainian Tomlinson hauled in 100 balls in 2003. Surprisingly, no wide receiver has ever had more than the 90 receptions Tony Martin put up in 1995. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both of those numbers fall this year.

Here, I will present the options for the players who could lead the team in receptions this season. You guys will then use the comments section below to tell us who you think the receptions leader will be.

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Keenan Allen- Best Season: 2014- 77 receptions

Injuries have destroyed Keenan Allen’s last two seasons, but even though he’s played in just eight of the last 32 games the team has had, he’s still considered the No. 1 receiver on the team. It will be interesting to see if he’s back to form after tearing his ACL last September, but he is capable of having multiple double-digit reception games in a season.

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Tyrell Williams- Best Season: 2016- 69 receptions

Many fans around the league didn’t even know who Tyrell Williams was prior to the 2016 season. He caught just two passes as a rookie and was hardly used that year. But last season, his role was already expected to be increased and his snaps went way up when Allen went down in the season opener.

Williams made the most of that opportunity, catching 69 passes and giving Chargers fans some real hope that he will produce at a high rate for many years to come.

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Travis Benjamin- Best Season: 2015- 68 receptions

Travis Benjamin had his best season in the NFL by far in 2015 when he caught 68 passes for the Cleveland Browns. During the offseason, he was a priority free-agent signing of the Chargers, but experienced a largely disappointing season with the team, catching just 47 passes.

Will Benjamin see more targets this year, or will the Chargers go to him only in certain situations, favoring bigger targets such as Allen, Williams and the two big tight ends?

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Mike Williams- Best Season: N/A

The first-round pick will be expected to make big plays this season, but there is already concern surrounding his status as a lingering back injury kept him out of OTAs.

When he’s on the field, Williams is a playmaker. He can go up and win contested balls and he is a serious threat in the red zone. He put up a huge senior season at Clemson, catching 98 passes.

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Dontrelle Inman- Best Season: 2016- 58 receptions

Dontrelle Inman has improved his receiving numbers in each of his first three season in the league and like Tyrell Williams, put forth his best effort last year while the team was dealing with multiple injuries.

Still, there will probably be too many mouths to feed in front of him and unless there’s a bevy of injuries again, it would be tough for Inman to even have more catches than he did last year, let alone lead the team in that category.

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Hunter Henry- Best Season: 2016- 36 receptions

Though Hunter Henry caught just 36 passes as a rookie, he led the team with eight touchdown receptions. Eventually, you have to figure he is going to overtake Antonio Gates as a the primary receiving tight end, Many fans thought that would happen last year, but Gates was still on the field more often.

Henry could easily double his 2016 reception number this year.

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Antonio Gates- Best Season: 2005- 89 receptions

Even at 37 years old, Antonio Gates is still one of the better tight ends in football and for his career, he is among the top tight ends to ever play the game. The 89 receptions he posted in 2005 is the third-most receptions any Chargers player has had in a single season. However, he hasn’t caught more than 70 passes in a season since 2013.

With the emergence of Henry, there’s no doubt that Gates will eventually see much less time on the field. That could happen as early as this season.

He caught 53 passes last year. Will he even have that many this year?

My Take

If Allen stays healthy, he is going to lead this team in catches. In fact, if he plays all 16 games, I could see him shattering LT’s single-season record. Aside from that, I think Tyrell Williams posts big numbers again, Mike Williams possibly has a disappointing first year because of injuries and Henry catches more than 70 passes in his second year with the team.

So which one of these guys do you think will lead the team in receptions this year? Don’t see your choice listed? Maybe you think a running back could lead the team in catches the way LT did 14 years ago? Perhaps you feel an undrafted rookie like Artavis Scott will come out of nowhere and catch 90 passes out of the slot? If so, put that in the comments as well. We want to hear from you guys on this one!