LA Chargers: Why the Josh Palmer selection was a mistake by the Bolts

Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer (5) runs the ball during a game between Tennessee and Texas A&M in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.
Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer (5) runs the ball during a game between Tennessee and Texas A&M in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. /

The LA Chargers selected wide receiver Josh Palmer with the 77th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A shock at first, many fans have seemed to come around on Palmer and are hoping for big things for the Tennessee Volunteer in LA.

The numbers in college are not that promising for Palmer. Palmer never crossed the 500-yard mark, catching 33 passes last season for 475 yards and four touchdowns. The numbers are not the story, though, as Palmer has showcased talent that is beyond his numbers.

Some people are higher on Palmer than others and the potential is certainly there, although I would not say it is a lock that he is going to be successful in the NFL. His poor quarterback play definitely influenced his numbers but he still could improve his ability to create separation, especially at the next level.

One thing is absolutely certain with Josh Palmer.

It was a mistake for the LA Chargers to draft Josh Palmer with the 77th pick.

Let’s put aside his ability for now. Personally, I don’t see him being a direct replacement for Mike Williams and think that, at best, he can be 75% of what Williams is for the Chargers as a vertical threat. Some people see his ceiling much higher, some see it lower.

This isn’t about that. Only time will tell if Palmer can be an adequate deep threat and even if he is down the line, the selection by the Chargers was a mistake. With the other needs on the board and the value of the selection, a different route would have been more ideal.

This is a two-year selection by the LA Chargers and there are solid receivers every year

Barring injury, Josh Palmer is not going to make an impact in 2021. The LA Chargers just drafted two wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft that have not even gotten their chance for consistent playing time. They just signed Tyron Johnson to a new deal. Jaylen Guyton, drops and all, will still be ahead of him on the depth chart.

That is not a terrible thing depending on the circumstances. You cannot mist mid-round picks to have big impacts in their rookie seasons. They take time to develop and you have to play the long game with selections in this round.

That being said, the one position where you can typically see an instant impact is the wide receiver position. And the wide receiver position is the one position where there is always talent available to fill whatever need the Chargers have.

As mentioned, Palmer seems to be the replacement plan for Mike Williams, perhaps guaranteeing that the Chargers will move on from Williams after 2021. The team absolutely could have found a replacement for Williams and with the roster as it currently is, could have probably spent a second-round pick on it and it be worth it.

This team has other needs that had to be addressed and the Chargers passed on them to get a receiver when they could have gotten a talented receiver next year to essentially do the same thing that Palmer is going to do in LA.

I laid out my ideal two selections in the third round of the draft in a previous article that you can find here. That route feels better than drafting someone to be the seventh wide receiver on the depth chart this season and hopefully blossom enough to take up a bigger role in year two.

Predicting the Chargers primetime games. Next

It’s all about value. Drafting a receiver in the middle rounds was always going to be a multi-year selection and that is why heading into the draft I did not expect them to take a wideout. It isn’t just Palmer, it is the value of the selection with what will be available next year.