After seeing the wide receiver room get ravaged by injuries in 2022, the LA Chargers made it a focus to add more depth to the position in the offseason. The Bolts drafted both Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis in the 2023 NFL Draft, adding an instant jolt of depth that the room needed.
It was assumed after last season that the Chargers would carry six wide receivers on the 53-man roster to combat any injury issues that the team may have. However, that does not appear to be the case before the official roster is released.
Both John Hightower and Keelan Doss are reportedly being waived, with Hightower not even making the practice squad. Doss appears to be a practice squad priority as long as another team does not claim him. This is all happening despite Jalen Guyton being placed on the PUP list to start the year, meaning he has to miss the first four games.
Thus, the Chargers are going to have five receivers on the depth chart for at least the first four weeks of the season. While that seemingly goes against what the Chargers needed to do at the position, there is obvious intent here.
The Chargers' likely plan with Jalen Guyton and Keelan Doss:
Doss had a better chance of making the Chargers roster because of the value that he brings on special teams. That same value is what is keeping him around on the practice squad and what will likely get him playing time early in the season.
The Chargers can elevate two practice squad players a week to be on the active roster. A player is allowed to be elevated three times in a season. If Doss were to be elevated a fourth time, he would have to be signed to the active roster.
Because of his value on special teams, it seems likely that Doss will be elevated for three of the four games that Guyton has to miss. It seems more likely that Doss would play in Weeks 2 through 4 as the Chargers could treat Week 1 as a filling-out process.
The Chargers have a bye week in Week 5. After the first four games of the year, the team will have extra time to evaluate Guyton's health and go from there. If he is ready to go, Guyton will be activated and Doss will be kept on the practice squad ready to come up to the active roster in the case of any injuries.
If Guyton is not ready to go then the team could place him on the IR and elevate Doss to the active roster. Either way, the Chargers will have an option after the first four games of the season if the wide receiver room does need to expand to six players.
By doing it this way, the Chargers not only create a roster spot for another position on the depth chart but also eliminate the need to potentially waive Doss in the future if Guyton does come back healthy in Week 6.