The 20 best wide receivers in the history of the LA Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers v Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Chargers v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The wide receiver position has undergone a lot of change over the years as the game of football has gone more and more to the passing attack. As a result, the wideouts who dominated the sport 50 years ago look much different than the wideouts who are dominating today.

The LA Chargers have had many talented wide receivers suit up in the powder blue over the franchise’s sixty-plus-year history. Comparing these receivers seems tough due to the different circumstances, but it is possible.

Criteria for selection

Ranking the greatest wide receivers in franchise history goes deeper than just statistics. The list of the top 20 wide receivers in receiving yards is not a carbon copy of the 20 greatest wide receivers of all time. It plays a factor, but it is not the entire story.

It is important to factor in how receivers compared to their peers at the time, which is best done with Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods. Additionally, there is a success element that must not be ignored. Wins and losses aren't pinned on receivers like they are quarterbacks but if a receiver was a massive part of a successful team then it means something.

The game of football has evolved so much over the years so of course a receiver in the 1960s is going to be less talented than a receiver in the 2010s. This is not a pure talent ranking. If so, the Chargers' current WR4 would rank ahead of the best receiver of the 1960s.

The top 20 wide receivers in LA Chargers history:

20. Joshua Palmer

Joshua Palmer may not seem like someone who would make this list but his numbers in comparison to other WRs puts him right around the 20 mark. The bar is pretty low down here as well, giving him a good chance to jump several spots in 2024. He currently ranks 19th in franchise history for receiving yards by a WR.

19. Nate Lewis

Nate Lewis is a good success story for the Chargers as he was drafted in the seventh round and turned into a solid contributor for several seasons. Lewis currently ranks 17th among all wide receivers in franchise history in receiving yards and hauled in 12 total receiving touchdowns.

18. Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal spent just three seasons with the Chargers with his last two being very productive. Royal finished with a combined 1,409 receiving yards in 2012 and 2013 while playing a big part in Philip Rivers being named Comeback Player of the Year in '13. Royal is 20th among Chargers wide receivers in career receiving yards and is 13th in receiving touchdowns.

17. Shawn Jefferson

Shawn Jefferson was drafted in the ninth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers but never played in Houston. Jefferson started his career with the Chargers, where he would spend five seasons. Jefferson really took off in his fourth and fifth seasons with over 600 receiving yards in both years. He ranks 19th in team history in receiving yards for a WR.

16. Eric Parker

Eric Parker ranks 17th among WRs in career receiving yards after spending all five of his NFL seasons with the Bolts. A foot injury kept Parker from playing his sixth season in 2007 and then he was released by the Bolts prior to the 2008 season. He spent one year as an assistant coach for wide receivers.

15. Tyrell Williams

Tyrell Williams was never the No. 1 option for the Chargers but he was a very reliable target for Philip Rivers to throw the ball to. Williams was a deep-ball savant, averaging 16.3 yards per reception with the Bolts. His best season came in 2016, where he finished with 1,059 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks 18th in career receiving yards.

14. Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham spent only three seasons with the Chargers but still narrowly edged out both Williams and Parker for the 16th spot in career receiving yards. Graham was productive in his three seasons in San Diego despite there being inconsistent quarterback play. He averaged just under 900 receiving yards per season from 1999 through 2001.

13. Curtis Conway

Graham's three seasons with the Chargers were productive and Curtis Conway's narrowly edged them out. Conway finished with exactly three more receiving yards than Graham did, meaning that he averaged one extra yard per season. It wasn't as close in touchdowns, where Conway finished with 16 compared to Graham's 11.

12. Don Norton

Don Norton played in a completely different era as he was a member of the first Chargers team in 1960. In his seven seasons with the Bolts, Norton finished with 3,486 receiving yards (11th in franchise history among wide receivers) and 27 touchdowns (12th in franchise history among WRs).

Compared to his peers, Norton was one of the better wide receivers in the AFL at the time. He was named an AFL all-star in 1961 and 1962.

11. Mike Williams

Mike Williams was an important receiver for the Chargers for several years but it still feels like a slight disappointment. Selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it was fair to put higher expectations on Williams than most.

Williams never made the Pro Bowl but he certainly had several Pro Bowl-caliber years. He finished with over 1,000 receiving yards twice in his career and even had a 10-touchdown season in his sophomore campaign.

Overall, Williams finished eighth in franchise history for receiving yards by a WR and 11th in touchdowns. Williams was never the guy, however, and his injuries held him back from being in the top 10.

10. Tony Martin

Tony Martin finished with over 600 fewer receiving yards than Williams (4,184) but he found the endzone two more times for a total of 33 touchdowns. Martin also did this in a much shorter timeframe than Williams as his Chargers tenure lasted just four seasons.

Martin was a key weapon for the Chargers during the team's successful mid-1990s run. He finished with 885 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in the team's Super Bowl season. Two years later, he led the entire NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns to go with 1,171 receiving yards. He was a one-time Pro Bowler.

9. Malcom Floyd

Recency bias may lead some to believe that Williams was a better version of Malcom Floyd and should rank higher on this list. That is not the case at all, though, as Floyd was the more productive deep-ball weapon for the Chargers in just about every metric.

Floyd finished his Chargers career with 5,550 receiving yards, which ranks one spot ahead of Williams as seventh in franchise history. Floyd also hauled in 34 receiving touchdowns, which is four more than Williams did.

Like Williams, Floyd never made a Pro Bowl and he was never really the guy for the Chargers while he was on the team. However, he was still an extremely important passing weapon who spent 11 full seasons with the team. Floyd ranks fourth in franchise history for games played by a WR.

8. Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson is one of the most beloved players on this list as he played a key role on offense in a time when it was very fun to be a Chargers fan. Drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Jackson was on the roster for all of the great 2000s Chargers teams that made the playoffs.

Jackson really emerged as a No. 1 receiver in 2008, where he set a new career-high in receptions (101), receiving yards (1,098) and receiving touchdowns (seven). There was no stopping Jackson from that point on, outside of the 2010 season when he only played five games due to injury.

All in all Jackson ended up being a two-time Pro Bowler for the Chargers who finished with 1,000 or more yards three times. Unfortunately, the Chargers could not re-sign him after the 2011 season and he went on to have three more elite seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he had those seasons with the Bolts he would be even higher on this list.

7. Anthony Miller

Recent Chargers fans would argue Vincent Jackson should be higher on this list but numbers-wise, Anthony Miller edges him out. In nearly identical games (93 for Miller vs 92 for Jackson), Miller had 828 more yards, finishing with 5,582. Miller has the sixth-most receiving yards in Chargers WR history.

Taken 15th in the 1988 NFL Draft, Miller certainly lived up to being a first-round pick even without the most consistent quarterback play. Miller made four Pro Bowls during his six seasons with the Chargers, finishing with 1,000 or more yards three times.

Miller left the Chargers right before they made the Super Bowl, signing with the Denver Broncos after the 1993 season. Miller was released after three seasons with the Broncos right before Denver went on to win the Super Bowl. Tough luck.

6. Gary Garrison

Garry Garrison played in a completely different era than the other receivers at the top of this list. First joining the Chargers when they were still in the AFL in 1966, Garrison played 11 seasons with the Bolts and was part of the team during its transition to the NFL.

Garrison is fourth among Chargers WRs in total receiving yards and a big reason why was how many games he played. He did not have the high ceiling of the other guys in this realm (again, it was a different era) but his longevity should still be respected.

Garrison played 131 games for the Chargers in his 11 seasons, which is the third-most in franchise history among wide receivers. He was a four-time Pro Bowler.

5. John Jefferson

John Jefferson doesn't rank as high as the other receivers in this realm in career receiving yards. Jefferson's 3,431 receiving yards with the Chargers rank 12th among wide receivers, below many guys who he ranks ahead of on this list.

Jefferson's dominance with the Chargers is what catapults him to the fifth spot on this list. He may rank 12th in receiving yards but he accomplished that in only three seasons. In those three seasons, he managed to haul in 36 touchdowns, which is eighth in franchise history among WRs.

Taken in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft, Jefferson was instantly a Pro Bowler with a 1,001-yard, 13-touchdown season. He finished with 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns his sophomore season and 1,340 yards and 13 touchdowns his third season. He was an All-Pro in each of those two seasons.

After a contract dispute, the Chargers traded Jefferson to the Green Bay Packers, where he never could never replicate his production in San Diego. He ranks second all-time among wide receivers in yards per game (min. 10 games).

4. Wes Chandler

Wes Chandler ranks fifth all-time in franchise history for a wide receiver. In his seven seasons with the Chargers, he hauled in 6,132 yards and 41 touchdowns. His 94 games played rank fourth among the wide receivers on this list.

Chandler is a spot lower than Garrison on the all-time receiving yards list but he earns two spots higher on this list because of how he compared to his peers. Chandler's ceiling was simply higher than Garrison's, although he did benefit from playing in a more pass-friendly era.

Chandler made the Pro Bowl four times total in his career, three of which were the Chargers. He was named an All-Pro in 1982 when he led the league with 1,032 receiving yards in only eight games (lockout-shortened season). His 129 receiving yards per game that season is the most in NFL history. That earns a sport on the Mount Rushmore.

3. Charlie Joiner

Charlie Joiner is one of the most important players, let alone wide receivers, in the history of the LA Chargers. Joiner was one of Dan Fouts’ most reliable weapons during the days of the Air Coryell offense and that allowed him to climb up the all-time ranks in franchise history.

Joiner has played the most games for any wide receiver in Chargers history and it is not particularly close, checking in at 164 games played. His overall stats are definitely helped in that regard but he still had a high ceiling and was among the best to do it when he played.

Joiner was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Chargers who was named an All-Pro once in 1980. Because of his impact on the Chargers and the game of football as a whole, Joiner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He ranks third among Chargers WRs in career receiving yards.

2. Keenan Allen

Statistically, Keenan Allen is the greatest wide receiver to ever play for the Chargers. Even though his Chargers career seemed as if it was cut short during the 2024 offseason, the 2013 third-round pick has the most receiving yards for a wide receiver in franchise history with 10,530. If the Chargers did not trade him, he likely would have surpassed Antonio Gates for the most receiving yards of all time.

Allen also ranks second among wide receivers in career touchdowns with 59. His 75.8 receiving yards per game is the third-most among wide receivers in franchise history.

While Allen was one of the best, most underappreciated wide receivers in the league during his Chargers tenure, the counting stats alone do not get him the No. 1 spot. Allen benefited from playing in a passing era, specifically once Justin Herbert took over and passed the ball more than any other quarterback in the sport.

Allen undoubtedly is on the Chargers’ Mount Rushmore of receivers and will deservingly go down as one of the best to ever wear powder blue. Recency bias alone doesn’t get him the top spot on this list.

1. Lance Alworth

Allen passed Lance Alworth for the most receiving yards by a wide receiver in franchise history but he does not rank ahead of him on this list. Alworth may not be as physically gifted as Allen but compared to his peers he was one of the most dominant wide receivers to ever play the game.

Alworth ranks first in franchise history in receiving yards per game even though he played in an era where throwing the ball was not as prominent. In his nine seasons with the Bolts, Alworth was named an AFL all-star seven times and was an All-Pro six times.

The only wide receivers with more All-Pro nods in their career are Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison. Granted, it was a completely different time, but even Randy Moss could not hit the five All-Pro benchmark, let alone six.

Perhaps if Allen didn’t get traded and he signed a new contract with the Bolts he would have secured his spot atop this list. Instead, it is still Alworth’s spot to lose.

The 10 best wide receivers in Chargers history by receiving yards:



Years with Chargers

Receiving yards


Keenan Allen




Lance Alworth




Charlie Joiner




Gary Garrison




Wes Chandler




Anthony Miller




Malcom Floyd




Mike Williams




Vincent Jackson




Tony Martin