Take a look at the entire Bolts roster leading into 2018 Preseason.
As we near the start of training camp on July 28, we’ll preview each position for the Los Angeles Chargers. We continue with the wide receivers.
Keenan Allen – What does Allen have up his sleeve following the single greatest season by a Chargers wide receiver? That’s the million-dollar question after KA13 firmly established himself as an elite wideout in 2017. A Pro Bowler for the first time, Allen broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-season record for receptions in a season with 102. Meanwhile, his 1,393 receiving yards were the second-most in a season in team history. Overall, Allen ranked among the league leaders in several categories, including first in total first downs (74), third down receptions (36), first in third down receiving yards (552), third in receiving yards (1,393) and fourth in receptions (102). He had seven 100-yard receiving games, including four straight at one point, and finished the year with six touchdowns. Thus, Allen enters 2018 as Philip Rivers’ clear number one option.
Tyrell Williams – Blessed with a rare combination of size and speed, Williams would be the number one option for several teams around the NFL. In fact, when Allen missed virtually all of the 2016 campaign, Williams broke out, leading the Chargers with 69 receptions for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns. He notched six catches of 40 yards or longer, which tied for the most in the NFL. Williams’ numbers took a dip with Allen’s return, but he was every bit as vital to the team’s success. The 6-4, 203-pounder hauled in 43 passes for 728 yards and four touchdowns. Williams is a perfect complement to Allen as he has the speed to stretch the field while also proving effective with crossing routes over the middle.
Travis Benjamin – Speaking of stretching the field, no one in the NFL fits that mold more than Benjamin. Among the fastest players in the NFL, the 28-year old speedster routinely took the top off the defense. In his second season with the Chargers, Benjamin hauled in 34 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns. The Bolts used his speed in the ground game as well, finding ways to feed him the ball 13 times for 96 yards for a 7.4 yard per carry average. Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is among the most creative minds in the league, so training camp will give us a chance to see what Whiz has up his sleeves when it comes to Benjamin.
Mike Williams – The spotlight is on last year’s seventh overall selection after a lost rookie campaign. Set back by a back injury, Williams caught just 11 passes for 95 yards in 10 games. Finally fully healthy, Williams felt like his old self this offseason. He also stressed how important it was to build a rapport with Philip Rivers after his injury limited their reps in 2017. Williams knows all eyes will be on him as he enters his second season.
Geremy Davis – A 6-3, 217-pound wideout who was initially a sixth-round pick of the New York Giants in 2015, Davis spent the majority of the 2017 campaign on the team’s active roster but appeared in only two games. A big target with strong hands, Davis has appeared in 15 games between the Bolts and Giants, catching two passes for 21 yards.
Dylan Cantrell – Cantrell was the busiest wideout on the roster this offseason, seeing the most reps of any wide receiver after the Chargers selected him in the sixth round (191st overall) of this year’s draft. At 6-3, 226-pounds, Cantrell is built in the mold of tall, rangy wideouts who have thrived with Philip Rivers at the helm. The rookie appeared in 13 games last year for Texas Tech, hauling in 71 passes for 816 yards and seven scores.
Artavis Scott – Clemson’s all-time leader in career receptions (245), Scott was one of the standouts of the Bolts’ offseason program. The 5-11, 195-pound playmaker flashed nearly every day, showing the ability to produce in a variety of roles. Scott turned heads during last year’s preseason, and spent all of 2017 on the team’s practice squad. He’s someone to keep an eye on to push for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Andre Patton – The former Rutgers star is another wideout who spent all of last season on the practice squad. The 6-2, 200-pound wide receiver notched 90 receptions in 44 collegiate games for 1,164 yards and 10 touchdowns. He caught 33 passes for 460 yards as a senior for the Scarlet Knights, leading the team with five touchdown catches which also ranked ninth in the Big Ten.
Justice Liggins – Signed after an impressive performance as a non-roster invitee at rookie minicamp, Liggins caught 102 passes for 1,166 yards and eight touchdowns in 36 career games at Stephen F. Austin. The 6-1, 209-pound Liggins spent the 2017 preseason with the Indianapolis Colts.
Nelson Spruce – An L.A. native, the Chargers signed the 6-1, 210-pounder in mid-May. Spruce entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Rams in 2016, spending the first nine weeks on their active roster before being placed on the reserve/injured list. He’s also spent time with the Bears and Chiefs.
J.J. Jones – Jones possess blazing speed that makes him a playmaker both on offense and special teams. The 5-10, 173-pounder has a knack for the chunk play, recording a catch of at least 25 yards in four games a year ago for West Georgia.
We’re Keeping Our Eye On…
Ricky Henne: The Bolts are loaded at wide receiver, but I think Artavis Scott has a chance to crack the rotation. I actually thought he was the most impressive wideout all spring here at Hoag Performance Center. Head Coach Anthony Lynn went out of his way to praise Scott on several occasions as the former Clemson star made the spectacular catch look routine. The big question is whether he can continue that level of success when the pads come on and when he goes up against other teams come the preseason. If he can, I think he has a good chance to force his way onto the team’s 53-man roster.
Hayley Elwood: This is one of the most crowded rooms on the roster, but I’m keeping a close watch on Dylan Cantrell. Selected in the sixth round, Cantrell is a big-bodied receiver with good ball skills. WR Coach Phil McGeoghan said Cantrell had the most reps of any player at the receiver position in the spring. Will that keep rolling in training camp? Time will tell, but it will be interesting to see how he can work his way into the lineup.
Chris Hayre: Now fully healthy, Mike Williams has all the tools for a breakout season. Fans coming to training camp practices will want to keep a close eye on the Bolts’ offense inside the 20. In Williams’ final year at Clemson, 10 of his 11 touchdowns came in the red zone. Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates combined for 23 red zone targets last season. It’s a safe bet that the 6-4, 220-pound Williams should receive a bulk of those looks in 2018.
The Chargers’ 2018 training camp schedule is official, so mark your calendars to watch the Bolts prepare for the upcoming season! The team will hold 14 practices open to the public between July 28 and August 23. For more information, please visit www.chargers.com/camp.