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2017 Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers
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As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we’ll preview each position for the Los Angeles Chargers. Next up are the wide receivers.
Keenan Allen – A premiere wideout in the NFL, KA13 enters his fifth season looking to make up for lost time after an ACL injury suffered in Week 1 cost him virtually the entire 2016 campaign. An expert route runner, the 6-2, 211-pound Allen has caught 221 passes for 2,617 yards and 16 touchdowns in 38 regular season games.
Tyrell Williams – Nobody will sleep on Williams heading into his third season after his monster sophomore campaign. After getting his feet wet in limited opportunities as an undrafted rookie, Williams authored a memorable 2016 season in which he totaled 69 receptions for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns. He became only the 15th player in in Chargers history to surpass 1,000 yards receiving. Blessed with blazing speed and good size (6-4, 205-pounds), Williams is one of the NFL’s top big play weapons. His six catches over 40 yards a year ago were tied for the most in the NFL while his 13 over 25 yards ranked fifth. Williams’ 468 yards after the catch also ranked sixth among wideouts.
Travis Benjamin – One of the fastest players in the NFL looks to showcase his full array of talents after being slowed by injuries in his first season donning the lightning bolt. Nonetheless, Benjamin made an impact in 2016, catching 47 passes for 677 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the year tied with teammate Tyrell Williams for the NFL lead with six catches of at least 40 yards.
Mike Williams – Los Angeles added one of the top playmakers available in this year’s NFL Draft when they selected Williams seventh overall. The 6-4, 218-pound Clemson product was a first-team All-ACC pick in 2016 after snaring 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. Known for his ability to come through in the clutch, he led the Tigers to a 35-31 victory in last year’s National Championship game by catching eight passes for 94 yards and one TD.
Dontrelle Inman – A reliable target for Philip Rivers from the moment he joined the Bolts in 2014, Inman’s role has increased each year. His efforts culminated in a banner season in 2016 in which he set career-bests across the board. He started all 16 games while catching 58 passes for 810 yards and four TDs. In 37 career games, Inman has totaled 105 receptions for 1,454 yards and seven touchdowns.
Geremy Davis – The former New York Giants’ draft pick enters training camp following an impressive offseason in which he’s earned high praise from Head Coach Anthony Lynn. The Chargers signed Davis midway through last season, but saw limited duty in three games. A physical presence at 6-2, 217-pounds, Davis left UCONN as the school’s all-time leader in 165 catches (165) and receiving yards (2,292).
Isaiah Burse – A quick-twitch athlete who excels in the slot, Burse looks to cement a role on the active roster after splitting time on the practice squad in 2016. He appeared in nine games last season with one start. Burse hopes to make a bigger impact in the passing game after primarily serving as the team’s returner on special teams.
Jamaal Jones – Jones broke his thumb early in training camp a year ago after signing as an undrafted free agent. All he’s done is impress this offseason from the moment the Chargers brought him back in January, taking full advantage of his opportunities. The 6-1, 192-pound wideout is Montana’s all-team leader in career receiving yards (3,021) while also ranking third in receptions (184) and eighth in touchdowns (22).
Da'Ron Brown – The 6-0, 199-pound Brown initially joined the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice (233rd overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. He caught 155 passes for 2,295 yards and 19 touchdowns over 55 career games in college at Northern Illinois, and is looking to catch on with the Bolts after also spending time with the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins.
Artavis Scott – Mike Williams isn’t the only high profile rookie wideout joining the Chargers out of Clemson as the team signed Scott as an undrafted free agent. A highly productive player, his 245 catches in three years ranks as the most in school history.
Andre Patton – The 6-3, 210-pound Rutgers product caught 33 passes for 460 yards last season as a senior for the Scarlet Knights. His five TD catches led the team and ranked ninth in the Big Ten. Overall, he posted 90 receptions for 1,164 yards and 10 touchdowns in 44 collegiate games.
Mitchell Paige – The former Indiana star turned a rookie mini camp invite into a spot on the 90-man roster. A former walk on for the Hoosiers, the 5-8, 180-pounder notched 115 catches for 1,330 yards and 10 touchdowns in 35 games with 24 starts. He’s only the 19th player in school history to surpass the century mark in receptions and 1,000 receiving yards.
We’re Keeping Our Eye On…
Ricky Henne: The battle at wide receiver figures to be one of the most intense, and fascinating, during training camp. Not only are players vying to establish themselves at the top of the roster, but there are a number of wideouts who impressed during the offseason looking to cement their spots. Still, my eye will gravitate toward a pair of players singled out by Head Coach Anthony Lynn for their fine play during OTAs – Geremy Davis and Jamaal Jones. Davis is physically impressive, and his unselfish nature as a downfield blocker often goes unnoticed. Meanwhile, Jones has showed good juice with the ball in his hands. Now, I want to see how they perform when the pads go on.
Hayley Elwood: The return of Keenan Allen. Ever since he got cleared to work with no limitations, Allen has looked like he hasn’t missed a beat. Granted, all of his work has come without pads and without game action, but he looks ready to roll. His speed and sharpness are there and his presence is definitely felt when he’s on the field. He was unstoppable in Week 1 last season before he got hurt, so if he can get back to that level of play and stay healthy, defenders better watch out.