LA Chargers: How Austin Proehl could solidify a 53-man roster spot

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into training camp, the first five wideouts on the LA Chargers' roster felt like they were set in stone. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both clearly the WR1 and 2 on the roster respectively.

Tyron Johnson had himself an insane first week of training camp but has been dealing with a small injury since. He might've solidified himself as WR3 already though with all the positive reports.

Jalen Guyton was always a lock to me despite his training camp being somewhat quiet. The Chargers need their go ball guy and he gives them that ability. Third round pick Jordan Palmer has been impressing in camp but was a lock to make the roster as such a high pick either way.

The real question has been WR6, if the LA Chargers do indeed decide to carry one.

K.J. Hill and Joe Reed seemed like obvious candidates heading into camp. I personally picked Reed as my WR6 heading into camp due to his ability to impact special teams.

One candidate for WR6 that I hadn't given much thought to before camp was former XFL standout Austin Proehl:

If the name Proehl sounds familiar, that's because it is. Austin and his brother Blake (currently on the Vikings) are the sons of 17 year NFL wideout Ricky Proehl. Austin was drafted by the Bills in 2018 NFL Drafts' 7th round.

He bounced around from practice squad to practice squad before his stint with the XFL's Seattle Dragons, where he caught two big highlight-reel touchdowns while being a consistent contributor.

MUST-READ: Why Mike Williams improving his route running is so important

Proehl was signed by the Niners after his XFL stint. He was then waived and claimed by the Chargers back in May.

Where I think Proehl has real potential to make the roster is his special teams play. The Chargers are putting a premium on that after an arduous last few years with Anthony Lynn and George Stewart. While Hill has also gotten involved in special teams play, Reed seems to have fallen out of that rotation early on in camp:

It's also worth pointing out that Proehl has gotten pretty extensive work in 7 on 7's and open field drills with the three main quarterbacks in camp. He's caught touchdowns from Justin Herbert and Chase Daniel during red zone drills specifically.

Of course, how Proehl fares in the preseason will be the major determining factor for his 53-man roster hopes. But it's hard not to look at his lead in the ST department plus his production in the offense as very positive signs so far.

Next. Risk and reward in the Derwin James green dot era. dark

In a three-way race between Hill, Reed, and Proehl, it seems like we could be headed for an upset relative to pre-camp expectations.