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Beat Writers Roundtable: Chargers Rookie Set to Make Biggest Leap


The 2021 season is in the books and over the next few weeks, we'll be checking in with a few of the team's beat writers, along with fellow team reporter Chris Hayre and yours truly, to take a look back and a look ahead for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Here's what we've covered so far:

This week, the writers gave their picks for the 2021 rookie set to make the biggest leap in 2022.

2021 Rookie Set to Make Biggest Leap in 2022

Joshua Palmer

"We saw flashes from Joshua Palmer all season; things he can do. I think the expectation is sort of this Keenan Allen-ish route runner, he aspires to be that. Obviously, he started to develop a little bit with [Justin] Herbert and earn Herbert's trust, he had the huge touchdown [near] the end of the game in Week 18. For a lot of these guys, it's an opportunity. He's a guy in a position who could have quite a bit of opportunity next year depending on what happens with the rest of the wide receiver situation. I think he's a guy that the Chargers are looking at right now thinking, 'We need this guy to be more next year, to develop and to become more of an every-down guy out there who Herbert can trust, the offense can trust, and [offensive coordinator] Joe Lombardi can trust.' I think he has that ability, and he seems, from what we can tell and what we're told, that he does seem to have that work ethic and desire. It would be a huge step for this team if he can step forward." – Jeff Miller, LA Times

Brenden Jaimes

"We didn't get to see him at all this year, and [head coach Brandon] Staley was steadfast in saying he wanted to make it right for Jaimes. You hope that 2022 is right and it's the right time to see what he can do. There may be an opening, there could be a starting position there if he's ready for it. We just saw snapshots of him in the preseason next to [Rashawn] Slater. I remember that Rams game and albeit, it's so early and it's preseason, but you saw flashes of what he could potentially be across this offensive line. I'm really interested to see how much they value him going into offseason workouts and training camp and if he's a potential starter in 2022." – Chris Hayre

Chris Rumph II

"I'll go down the draft class and I'll say Chris Rumph II. I was able to catch up with him and talk to him about the complexities of this Brandon Staley defense because that was a word we heard used a lot to describe it. He said he enjoyed it and learning and growing as a young player, it was really important for him to come in and do that. When we go back to that 2018 draft class, we talk about some of those guys like the Uchennas, Kyzirs, those guys coming along and developing and maybe this scheme is the right fit for those guys. Seeing some of those defensive players, this team's got a lot free agents on the defensive side of the ball, so they're going to need some of these young guys to really step up and elevate their game as they move forward." – Hayley Elwood

Tre' McKitty

"I'm gonna go with Tre' McKitty because of the way the roster is sort of structured right now … They have a nice trio of tight ends with Donald Parham Jr., Stephen Anderson and Tre' McKitty and I could really see Tre' McKitty making a massive jump next year and taking on a bigger role if Jared Cook isn't in the building. Obviously, he showed what he can do as a run blocker. He's really physical, he's imposing in the run game, needs to be a little more consistent there but definitely, you see the potential as a run blocker. But we really didn't get to see him flourish as a pass-catcher. He caught a few balls but wasn't really a consistent presence in that area of the offense. But he has that skillset, he has that athleticism, and you see it when he gets the ball in his hands. I think you can really see him be productive next year as a pass-catcher as he continues to grow and with some more opportunities..." – Daniel Popper, The Athletic

Take a look at the best photos from the Chargers 2021 campaign through the lens of team photographer, Mike Nowak, manager of photography, Ty Nowell, and gameday photographer, Travis Ellison.

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