The LA Chargers' wide receiver room is tragically thin heading into the 2023 offseason. The only NFL-caliber receivers on the roster are Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer. While that is a great start to a receiver room, a team needs much more depth than the Chargers currently have.
Speedster Jalen Guyton is a restricted free agent and could potentially be brought back but his ACL injury throws a wrench into those potential plans. With the Chargers being restricted by the salary cap, they may have to simply let Guyton go because of any concern about him not returning to full speed after the injury.
If Guyton departs then the Chargers need to draft not one, but two receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft. Taking a receiver in the top three rounds feels like a must this year and with Guyton out of town (assuming there are no free-agent replacements), another receiver on day 3 is ideal.
If that is indeed the situation the Chargers find themselves in then there is a day-3 prospect who posted promising measurables at the NFL Combine that could be a target to watch.
Derius Davis is a promising day 3 target for the Chargers in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Derius Davis ended up with the second-fastest 40-yard-dash time among wide receivers, only falling behind Nebraska's Trey Palmer. Palmer ran a 4.33 40-yard dash to just narrowly beat out Davis' 4.37 time.
This is 0.02 seconds faster than Jalen Guyton, proving that Davis would bring that vertical threat to the offense that the team was so desperately lacking once Guyton got hurt last season. Just having that speed makes a defense respect the deep parts of the field more.
Davis would not be a direct replacement for Guyton and would almost be a hybrid replacement for both Guyton and DeAndre Carter. He brings the speed that Guyton brought to the offense but also brings the special teams value that Carter brought last season.
Davis checked in at five-foot-eight and 185 pounds so he is going to live in the slot at the NFL level, which is part of the reason (along with a limited route tree) that he is a day-3 prospect instead of being a top-100 prospect.
That being said, the Chargers aren't going to need Davis to run a complicated route tree early on and simply need to utilize his speed as a deep-ball threat. In theory, Davis should be the WR5 on the roster next season, so he does not have to have a massive impact numbers-wise in year one.
Instead, his instant impact can be on special teams. Davis averaged 20.4 yards per kickoff return and 14.9 yards per punt return last season. He returned two punts for touchdowns. Davis' speed jumps off the tape when watching him return punts. Under Ryan Ficken, Davis could truly be special.
MUST-READ: 4 Chargers we can safely call busts
Derius Davis shouldn't be the only wide receiver that the LA Chargers select in the 2023 NFL Draft but he would be an excellent selection if the team can steal him in the later rounds.