The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. While that's largely the product of Justin Herbert, it helps the phenom quarterback has a bevy of receivers, tight ends and running backs to throw to.
While Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett sit atop the pecking order, the first several practices of training camp suggest second-year man Josh Palmer could become a big part of the offense this season.
A third-round pick out of Tennessee in 2021, Palmer never quite had a breakout game as a rookie, which would explain why he's flown under the radar for so long. In 17 games, he topped 50 yards receiving once and finished the year with 33 catches for 353 yards and four touchdowns.
Not bad output for someone who finished fifth on the team in targets behind Allen, Williams, Ekeler and tight end Jared Cook.
Amid an eye-opening training camp, Palmer is finally starting to get some recognition around the league.
In a recent article, Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders ranked Palmer as the game's most likely breakout star in 2022.
Is Chargers wideout Josh Palmer poised to breakout in 2022?
Here's what McCown said of Palmer's breakout potential (subscription required):
"He didn't play enough to qualify for our main leaderboard as a rookie, but among wideouts with 10 to 49 targets, Palmer finished 14th in DYAR and 22nd in DVOA. However, by the end of the season, Palmer began getting starts. He had three touchdowns in the last five weeks of Los Angeles' season as Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler missed some time. Palmer wasn't physically dominating, but he had a knack for doing work at the catch point. His production came despite finishing with the 13th-lowest amount of cushion according to NFL's Next Gen Stats."
McCown makes a good point about Palmer coming on down the stretch of last season. Of his 33 catches, 15 came in the final three games. Two of his three games with 40 or more receiving yards came during that stretch, too. Who knows? He might've made some noise in the playoffs had the Chargers beat the Raiders in Week 17.
It's unclear if Palmer has a leg up on Jalen Guyton for the WR3 role behind Allen and Williams, but he'll win the job no problem if he keeps making plays like this at camp.
That play encapsulates why Chargers fans are so bullish on Palmer's outlook for 2022 and beyond. With the 23-year-old past the rookie hurdle of learning a new offense and adjusting to the speed of the NFL, he's clearly playing with more freedom.
With more snaps and targets in store for Palmer this season, he could become a popular name around the NFL in a few months' time. After all, he'll have one of the game's best quarterbacks throwing him spirals. That definitely helps.