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Why the Chargers Expect Joshua Palmer & Quentin Johnston to Thrive in 2024


The Chargers have refreshed a good portion of their roster so far this offseason.

And no position is more evident of that than at wide receiver.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, mainstays with the Chargers for all of nearly a decade, are now with other teams.

Allen was traded to the Bears while Williams was released and recently signed with the Jets.

Joe Hortiz is well-aware that the Bolts wide receiver room looks drastically different than when the 2023 season ended.

But the Chargers General Manager isn't worried at all, mostly because of the belief he has in fourth-year wide receiver Joshua Palmer.

"I'm really excited about Josh," Hortiz said last week. "I think he is at that point in his career where he is a vet now and he's worked under two receivers.

"When he's been given opportunities, he's been on the field when those two haven't been and he's produced for us," Hortiz added. "I've gotten to know him pretty good over the past couple six weeks I've been here, so I expect him to step up his game."

Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh also referenced Palmer by name when asked about the WR room at the 2024 NFL Annual League Meeting.

Palmer has 143 career catches for 1,703 yards and nine touchdowns since he was a 2021 third-round pick.

The 24-year-old has routinely stepped up when Allen and Williams dealt with injuries. That was on full display in 2022 when Palmer tallied 72 receptions for 769 yards and three over 16 games.

Hortiz and Harbaugh also said they expect a leap from 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnson.

"We're excited about Quentin, his opportunity," Harbaugh said.

Hortiz went in depth on Johnston last week when he met with local reporters.

"That's what a lot of rookie seasons look like," Hortiz said about Johnston's 2023 production. "But he flashed some really impressive traits and the good thing is when you're looking at your roster, you're looking at it all the time, you're watching the film all the time.

"Every time you put on the tape, you see the talent and I expect him to make the jump," Hortiz added. "I know we have the right coaches to help him make the jump. I feel good about the guys that are here."

Johnston had 38 catches for 431 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 17 games as a rookie in 2023.

The Bolts also have 2023 rookie Derius Davis on the roster alongside Simi Fehoko.

And with the 2024 NFL Draft a month away, Hortiz expects the Bolts to add more bodies to that room.

"Yes, it is a position we need to add pieces to it," Hortiz said. "We have free agency still, there's players out there in free agency still that we like.

"There's also a really strong draft of wide receivers and there's going to be players that come available after the draft," Hortiz continued. "Whether they're still out there in free agency or they get released because with all the wideouts in the draft this year, there's going to be other teams that draft wideouts and they're going to end up releasing good wideouts.

"You're going to see it, you're going to continue to see it progress through the offseason. Good wide receivers are going to be becoming available, whether it's through cuts, cap casualties or trades," Hortiz added.

Harbaugh echoed Hortiz's thoughts, noting the Chargers still have plenty of time to put together their wide receiver group for the 2024 season.

"It's not even April yet, we got the draft coming and free agency, too," Harbaugh said. "Free agency lasts before the draft, after the draft.

"Right now, just couldn't be more excited about getting the players in the building. Coaching staff's been hired, they've been grinding, they've been doing great, but getting the players in the building April 2 just can't wait for it," Harbaugh added. "Because they're the ones that bring that building to life, give us a great lift when that happens. So just really gearing up for that."

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