Potential breakouts in LA Chargers training camp: TE Stephen Anderson
Stephen Anderson didn't get many opportunities to show off his receiving skills until Hunter Henry was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the last two weeks of the 2020 season. With both Henry and Virgil Green down at that point, Anderson finally got his chance.
Against Denver and Kansas City to end the season, Anderson put up seven receptions for 100 yards combined. He played 60% of the team's offensive snaps at Kansas City, by far his highest mark of the season. Donald Parham was no slouch in those finishing games either as he racked up five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
What might separate Anderson though is his YAC potential. Anderson ranked number one amongst tight ends in YAC/reception last year. The asterisk on that is the small sample size as many will probably point out. But I think that stat lines up pretty nicely with the film from the last two games.
Anderson wasn't just catching deep balls that Justin Herbert put on a platter for him. He was doing the work to pick up crucial yards after the initial pass himself.
Now the tough part with Anderson is that the Chargers have a competitive tight end room. Jared Cook is the new TE1 for at least 2021. Tre' McKitty was just drafted and isn't going anywhere with his blocking ability. That's without even mentioning the lock Parham seems to be for the roster.
It might be weird to call someone fighting for the roster a breakout candidate, but I think there's something to that. Anderson's skills made the coaching staff carry four tight ends last year and perhaps the new group feels the need to do that again.
In the new Joe Lombardi system, it wouldn't surprise me if Anderson's YAC-ability and experience separate him in his quest to make the roster.