WR Joe Reed, Virginia
When Joe Reed was selected in the fifth round, it felt like an overdraft for me at the time. Perhaps it still is based on value, but I’ve come around on some of the things he’s able to do. For one, Reed was the highest-graded kick returner in the draft by PFF.
The Chargers need to have a player who can consistently have decent kick and punt returns. They thought they had that with Desmond King for a while, but his returning ability declined in 2019.
If Reed was just a kick returner, he wouldn’t have gone in the fifth round. He developed as a receiver in 2019, going from 25 catches in his junior season to 77 catches in his senior season. In a lot of ways, Reed is what Travis Benjamin was supposed to be in his time here. He’s never dropped a pass of 20+ yards, has sub 4.5 speed, and can play in the slot or backfield.
He will make a serious push for the third receiver role, along with seventh-round pick K.J. Hill. Reed also broke the record for most career kick return yardage at Virginia. The player who held the record before him? That would be Darius Jennings, another wide receiver/kick returner that the Chargers signed this offseason.
Drafting Reed has me wondering if the Chargers view Jennings as a depth piece or a player who will compete for a roster spot now, as Reed is simply better than him at both receiving and kick returning.