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LA Chargers: Grading the 2020 wide receiver group

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs with the ball after making a catch in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on November 07, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs with the ball after making a catch in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on November 07, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

The LA Chargers added some interesting receivers in the offseason. How well will they fit with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in the wide receiver group?

Wide receiver is a generally good position for the LA Chargers, but it has been tough to find quality depth in recent years. After injuries to Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin last season, the Chargers were very thin at receiver behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

The Chargers rectified that in the draft by selecting two receivers. Joe Reed was taken in the fifth round. He has great hands and could very well contribute on special teams. K.J. Hill was a consensus steal among most analysts as no one expected him to slip to the seventh round. Let’s discuss the top five receivers on the depth chart and see how the unit grades.

Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen comes into 2020 with fairly high expectations. While he’s the best receiver out of the group, he is also going into a contract year. There’s no doubt to me that’s he is one of the best pure route runners in the league, but he’s going to have to adapt to new circumstances.

Ever since Allen was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, Philip Rivers has been his quarterback. That will obviously be different this year when either Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert start in the first game. Allen’s a good enough receiver to adapt, but a lot of his routes are timing-based. Part of me wonders if he’ll get off to a slower start than usual as he builds a relationship with the new quarterback.

Even with a new offensive scheme and quarterback, Allen will still produce the way he always has. He’s played three straight seasons of 16 games apiece, so injuries haven’t been the factor that they were earlier in his career. In each of the past three seasons, he’s averaged 1263 yards on 101 catches. While it may take time to develop a rapport with Taylor, he will lead the Chargers in almost all receiving categories.

Another role I’d like to see Allen play is as a mentor to Hill. Both are route running savants with great hands, and it would be nice to see Allen usher Hill into the third receiver role.

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