Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers
Tight Ends (3): Jared Cook, Donald Parham, Tre’ McKitty
The tight ends are pretty simple to figure out. Jared Cook replaces Hunter Henry as the TE1 pass catcher. The coaching staff cannot expect to use Cook as a blocker. In the last two seasons, he’s played just 14 pass blocking snaps. Henry had 79 PB snaps in 2020 alone.
All that really means in my opinion is that the team should construct a strong group of blockers around Cook. Donald Parham’s 6’8″ frame will come in handy. Parham played 18 PB snaps in 2020 with a 70 PFF pass blocking grade. His pass catching usage should be up too as he had 159 yards on 10 receptions in 2020.
Rookie Tre’ McKitty will fill the TE3 role. Even moreso than Parham, McKitty will be relied on for his blocking. He also has the ability to lineup in multiple spots as evidenced by his college career.
While the Chargers did re-sign Stephen Anderson, I think they’ll be forced into a decision between him and Parham. Anderson’s last two games of 2020 vs. Denver and Kansas City will give him some hope to make the roster, but those games were anomalies relative to the rest of the season. Anderson had just six yards in his first 11 (!) games.
Parham just seemed to be the more consistent fixture from game to game than Anderson. He’s also five years younger than Anderson with a high ceiling.
Fullbacks (1): Gabe Nabers
Gabe Nabers can also operate as a pass catcher as we saw a little bit of in 2020. He’ll be the fullback heading into 2021, barring a surprising cut. Bobby Holly ain’t walking through that door.
Considering the losses of Virgil Green and Henry, he’s a necessary fixture in the offense. Nabers had the highest PB grade of the TE/FB group last year with an 82.9.