Sat, 15 Aug 2020

2020 Positional Overview: Wide Receivers

Chargers
14 Jul 2020, 23:36 GMT+10

Chargers.com will break down each of the team's position groups leading up to 2020 training camp. This week, it's the wide receivers.

Keenan Allen

Since 2017, few wide NFL receivers have been as productive as Allen. Over the last three seasons, he's caught 303 passes (third among WRs) for 3,788 yards (fourth among WRs) on 444 targets (fifth in the NFL), while playing in all 48 regular season games.

Despite a five-win season, Allen delivered from the beginning. Through the first three weeks of 2019, he caught 29 balls for 404 yards and three touchdowns - including 13 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3 against the Houston Texans.

Allen was targeted 10 or more times in 10 games last season. He went to his third straight Pro Bowl in January, and tied DeAndre Hopkins for second in the NFL in receptions among wide receivers (104).

With 63 catches in 2020, Allen will pass LaDainian Tomlinson, Kellen Winslow, and Charlie Joiner for second all-time in receptions in Chargers history.

Mike Williams

Williams secured his first career 1,000-yard season in 2019 on only 49 receptions.

His 20.4 yards per catch was tops in the NFL. Williams had 10 catches of 38 yards or more, with nine of them coming in Week 9 or later. The only number that decreased for Williams in 2019 was touchdowns. After 11 total TDs in 2018, he had two last season.

Williams had his first career 100-yard game in a Week 9 victory over the Green Bay Packers: 111 yards on three receptions. His career high in yards came in Week 13: a five-catch, 117-yard performance in Denver.

Since entering the league in 2017, only Josh Gordon (17.42) and Breshad Perriman (17.13) have a higher yards-per-reception average among wide receivers than Williams (17.09) - a minimum 100 targets.

Joe Reed 2020 Positional Overview: Tight Ends 2020 Positional Overview: Quarterbacks 2020 Positional Overview: Running Backs

The Chargers selected University of Virginia's Reed in the fifth round (No. 151 overall) of this year's draft.

Last season, Reed led the Cavaliers with 77 catches, while adding 679 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and was named first-team All-ACC as both a return specialist and all-purpose player.

In all, Reed appeared in 48 games for the Cavaliers, catching 129 passes for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns. He's also UVA's all-time record holder in kick return yardage (3,042) and kick return touchdowns (five).

After Reed was drafted, Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall joined "Chargers Weekly" and called his former receiver a "one size fits all" player.

"Do you need him to return a kick?" Mendenhall said of Reed. "OK, great. Do you need him to go deep? OK, great. Do you want to put him at running back and hand him the ball? Awesome. Do you want to have yards after the catch, maybe on a tunnel screen? Great.

"So really, there's not much he can't do."

KJ Hill

The Chargers selected Hill in the seventh round (No. 220 overall) of this year's draft out of Ohio State University.

The all-time leading receiver in Buckeyes history appeared in 50 career games, catching 201 passes for 2,332 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. Hill won three consecutive Big Ten championships from 2017-2019, and was a co-captain his senior year.

NFL Network draft and Chargers radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah said that in a draft class that saw 37 wide receivers selected, Hill was "top three or four" in terms of hands.

"He catches everything," Jeremiah said. "You could make a highlight reel of just his one-handed catches at Ohio State. Tremendous value being able to get him where you did. ... Hopefully Keenan Allen can kind of take him under his wing."

Rounding out the room

Darius Jennings joined the Chargers this offseason after spending the previous two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Primarily used as a kick returner, Jennings led the NFL with 31.7 yards per return in 2018. He has a career 27 catches for 235 yards.

Andre Patton returns after appearing in 13 regular season games in 2019. He caught six passes for 56 yards last season. In the 2019 preseason, Patton caught six passes for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Jason Moore, an undrafted free agent in 2018, appeared in 10 games last season. He caught two passes for 43 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6.

Jaylen Guyton returns after appearing in three games for the Chargers last season. In the 2019 preseason as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Guyton scored a 69-yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tyron Johnson joins the Chargers this offseason after ending the 2019 season on the team's practice squad. Before Los Angeles, Johnson spent time on the Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers practice squads.

Jeff Cotton is a 2020 undrafted free agent from Idaho. In two seasons with the Vandals, Cotton caught 137 passes for 1,797 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Dalton Schoen is a 2020 undrafted free agent from Kansas State. He played three seasons for the Wildcats, hauling in 92 receptions for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns.

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