LA Chargers News

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 Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Joe Reed

Along with Hill, Reed is going to compete for the third receiver role behind Williams and Allen. Had someone asked me what I thought about Reed as a pro prospect a year ago, it felt like he would be almost exclusively a special teams player. He really developed as a receiver in 2019, as he had 52 more receptions than the previous season.

Volume went up for Reed in a big way as he became a more complete player. His yards per reception went down, but that’s actually good considering the reduction came from being more proficient at intermediate and inside routes.

Reed clocked in at a 4.47 40 time, but his in-game speed might actually be faster. His acceleration on kick returns and on the outside as a receiver is great.

He’ll probably start the season with kickoff returns as a speedy special teamer, but you’ll see him in the main receiving rotation sooner rather than later. The Chargers need to convert on deep throws, and it isn’t a bad idea to have someone who never dropped a 20+ yard pass in college in the group.

Another asset he brings to the table is viable kick returning. Benjamin, Desmond King, Troymaine Pope, and others have all tried to be the permanent special teams returner.

While King had some success in prior seasons, 2019 was below average in terms of his punt and kick returns. Averaging 29 yards per return for his college career and 33.2 yards per return in 2019, Reed could be the special teams threat the Chargers have been looking for.

Reed has also been open to the idea of coming out of the backfield. Between that, special teams returning, the slot, and the third receiver role in general, it’s clear that the LA Chargers view him as a swiss army knife of sorts.

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