This past week, the LA Chargers selected wide receiver Josh Palmer, from the University of Tennessee with the 77th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Not only was this pick a surprising one, but the Chargers were also making a statement about an offensive weapon already on the roster.
The NFL is changing and speed is everything in today’s game, especially in the AFC West. Last season, the Las Vegas Raiders drafted the fastest player available in Henry Ruggs. The Kansas City Chiefs have the quickest playmaker in the entire league with Tryeek Hill. Even the Denver Broncos have a speed demon with K.J. Hamler, who ran a 4.27 in his 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
Instead of drafting a track star such as Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz, who has run a mind-boggling 4.26 40-time in the past, the Bolts chose a more technical route-runner/hands style of a receiver in Palmer.
Jalen Guyton has big-time potential for the LA Chargers in 2021
The selection of Palmer was a little confusing at first. The Chargers are a team with arguably the best route-runner in the entire NFL in Keenan Allen, not to mention the one thing they seem to be missing on offense is speed over the top.
Then I thought about the potential of Jalen Guyton.
Guyton entered his name in the 2019 NFL Draft pool, but he went undrafted coming out of North Texas. He was later cut by the Dallas Cowboys before the 2019 season, which lead him to Los Angeles.
In year one, Guyton only appeared in three games with the bolts, and he didn’t make a single reception. In his second season, and first with Justin Herbert, fans saw flashes of his explosiveness and speed, which lead to some of the best Chargers highlights of 2020. Year three will be the year Guyton becomes the X-factor.
Guyton fit into the downfield role nicely last year, grabbing 28 balls for 511 yards and three touchdowns. But the most impressive part of his 2020 campaign was that 13 of his 28 receptions went for 20 yards or more.
Guyton will come into the new season with a solidified role on this Chargers team, something he was missing last year. Confidence is key when it comes to playing well. Guyton will have also had an entire offseason in the Bolts’ facilities, which, again, is massive.
When Rashawn Slater was selected by the Chargers in the first round of this year’s draft, new head coach Brandon Staley said, “we want to become a line of scrimmage team.” That screams a play-action offense, which will lead to Guyton being much more productive.
We have seen how dynamic speedsters over the middle can be. Guyton will likely line up in the slot most of the time, with Allen and Mike Williams being the outside receivers. Guyton is too quick to be covered by linebackers over the middle.
When the Chargers played the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, Guyton was running past guys like Antoine Winfield. He becomes a matchup nightmare for teams when lined up in the slot.
Lastly, we can’t overlook the connection between him and Herbert. In today’s NFL Draft process, star players and, more importantly, star quarterbacks, have a say in who the team uses their picks on.
Just look at what the Cincinnati Bengals did this year, drafting former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 overall pick. Herbert had a connection with Guyton last season and he wants to continue to grow with Guyton over the coming years.
Whether or not fans like Guyton as the Chargers’ third wide receiver, be prepared to see a lot more of No. 15 flying down the field and into the end zone because he will be an X-factor for the Bolts’ offense in 2021.