The LA Chargers dealt with a wave of injuries in 2022 and were still able to overcome them, win 10 games and make the NFL Playoffs. No position was struck more with injuries than at wide receiver as Justin Herbert hardly had his best weapons to throw to during the season.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both missed multiple games with several of those games overlapping. Throw in Jalen Guyton's torn ACL in Week 3 and the depth at receiver simply was not there for the Bolts.
We are starting to get an idea of just how thin the Chargers were at wide receiver based on NFL free agency. DeAndre Carter and Michael Bandy, who both played substantial snaps last season, both had limited markets in free agency.
DeAndre Carter ended up signing a cheap one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, who have loved bringing in the Chargers' leftovers in recent years. At least Carter stayed in the NFL as the same cannot be said for Michael Bandy, who is now in the XFL.
So Justin Herbert was throwing to a five-nine receiver worth a minimum contract and an XFL receiver last season. Got it. Keep in mind that Jalen Guyton has not been signed by any team yet and all of the Chargers' practice squad receivers are exactly that: practice squad receivers.
Chargers can't make the same mistake at receiver in 2023.
You would have thought that the LA Chargers would have learned a lesson from this but so far that does not seem to be the case. The team is obviously very high on the top three receivers on the depth chart and is overlooking the depth behind that trio.
Los Angeles only has three NFL-caliber receivers on the roster right now. That is incredibly dangerous. The team does not need to bring in a Pro Bowler to be the WR4 but it would benefit them to have some depth behind the top three.
Chances are the team drafts two receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft, which seems to make sense. The Bolts definitely need to draft a receiver in the first three rounds to start preparing the room for once Allen and/or Williams leave. But potentially relying on two rookie receivers to be the main depth options is risky.
It does not matter how great their tape in college is. Nothing is guaranteed at the NFL level. Look at Joe Reed and K.J. Hill. Chargers fans quickly fell in love with both of those guys and touted them as the future of the team's wide receiver room. Fast forward to 2023 and neither guy is with the team before the 2020 rookie contracts even expire.
Injuries are bound to happen in the NFL. It is football. The team might not suffer them to the extent that it did last season but Allen and Williams still both have their health concerns. The Chargers cannot afford a repeat of the 2022 season where Herbert is throwing to XFL-quality receivers. They need to go out and sign more depth.