As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we'll preview each position for the San Diego Chargers. We continue with a look at the wide receivers.
Keenan Allen –Fans have waited to see KA13 back on the field ever since his Week 8 kidney injury cut short what looked destined to be one of the greatest seasons ever by a wide receiver. His 67 catches through eight games were the third most in NFL history, and he was on pace for a 143 catch season. That mark would have shattered LaDainian Tomlinson's team record of 100 set in 2003. Allen signed a four-year contract extension last month, and says he is primed to take his game to even further heights. To date, the 24-year old has caught 215 passes for 2,554 yards and 16 touchdowns in 37 career regular season games.
Travis Benjamin –The Bolts landed a prized free agent in March when they inked Travis Benjamin to a four year contract. The former Brown set career highs last season with 68 catches, 966 yards and five touchdown grabs. Philip Rivers has already called the 5-10, 175-pound wideout the fastest player he's ever thrown the ball to, and fans will get their first extensive look at Benjamin's big play ability throughout training camp. Benjamin had 12 receptions of at least 20 yards and six catches over 40 yards in 2015, and his four touchdown catches on balls thrown at least 30 yards were tied for the most in the NFL. Indicative of his big play ability, his 13 career touchdowns including special teams average a remarkable 52.3 yards per score.
Stevie Johnson –Johnson started 2015 off with a bang before hamstring and groin injuries limited him to only 10 games. Nonetheless, he finished his first year in San Diego ranked fourth on the team with 45 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns. Now, the crafty veteran looks to play a full 16 games for the first time since 2012 while serving as a steady option for Philip Rivers. Coincidentally, 2012 was the last season Johnson surpassed 1,000 yards, and was the third year in a row he accomplished that feat while with the Buffalo Bills. He was the first player in franchise history to surpass the 1,000 yard barrier in three consecutive seasons.
Dontrelle Inman –Entering his third season in America's Finest City, Inman has answered the call each time he's been called upon. Last year was a banner year for the 6-5, 207-pound CFL import as he set career highs across the board. Appearing in 14 games with seven starts, Inman caught 35 passes for 486 yards and the first three touchdowns of his career. Perhaps most impressive, his 13.9 yards per catch average was the highest on the team and ranked 29th in the league among players with at least 35 receptions.
Tyrell Williams –One of the stars of the offseason program, Williams looks to parlay a massive 2015 season finale into a bigger role in 2016. After bouncing back and forth between the practice squad and active roster, the 6-5, 205-pound former undrafted free agent caught his first career pass in Week 17 against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. It was one he'll always remember as he took it 80 yards to the house, tying for the 11th-longest catch in franchise history and the longest first catch by a player in Chargers history. It was also the longest first catch by any player in the NFL since 2008.
Javontee Herndon –Another former undrafted free agent who saw his first career action in 2015, Herndon boasts a unique combination of athleticism and pure strength. The former Arkansas Razorback earned his promotion after spending a year and a half on the practice squad, and finished with 25 catches for 195 yards in eight games with two starts.
Isaiah Burse –The former Denver Bronco joined the Bolts last November and spent the rest of the year on the practice squad. Slippery in the slot, the 5-10, 187-pound Burse starred at Fresno State where he set a school record with 5,873 career all-purpose yards.
Torrence Allen –One of the fastest players on the roster, Allen missed all of last season after suffering a foot injury last August. The Bolts remain high on the speedster's talent as he spent all of 2014 on the team's practice squad.
Dom Williams –San Diego signed the All-Pac-12 honorable mention wideout as an undrafted free agent in May. Williams left Washington State second in school history in career receiving yards (2,889) and touchdown catches (30), and third in receptions (192).
Jamaal Jones –The 6-1, 189-pound undrafted rookie out of Montana was a first-team All-Big Sky selection and team captain, setting a school record with 3,021 career receiving yards.
DeAndre Reaves –Known mainly for his special teams ability, as he was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of Year in 2015, Reeves caught 64 career passes for 773 yards and four touchdowns at Marshall.
Keep an Eye On…
Ricky Henne:As excited as I am to see Keenan Allen back on the field, the player I am most eager to see has to be Tyrell Williams. He received a lot of hype throughout the offseason, and earned every last bit of it with standout play. Williams possesses so many traits teams covet in a wide receiver – size, speed and big play ability. If he continues to develop and progresses at the same pace, he has a good chance to not only earn a spot, but be a valuable contributor.
Hayley Elwood: Part of what's so intriguing about the wide receiving corps is that each player brings a unique skill-set to the unit. It'll be exciting to see how Keenan Allen continues to build on where he left off last season, making routine circus catches from number 17, while Travis Benjamin uses his speed to pose a threat for the defense. With 11 receivers on the roster, there's undoubtedly going to be some serious competition for this group in camp.