It wasn’t too long ago when Philip Rivers was among the league leaders in passing yardage per season. With the playmakers on the outside now in San Diego, it isn’t too far-fetched for him to return to that form in 2013.
The San Diego Chargers have a plethora of talented wide receivers right now, with a healthy mix of veterans and young potential. Returning to the team are veterans Malcom Floyd, who’s a near lock for about 700 to 800 receiving yards per season, Eddie Royal, who could man the slot position, and Robert Meachem, who was awful last season but clearly has talent and could bounce back.
The key to this group, however, is the continued development of their young stars in the making.
The team’s top receiver, Danario Alexander, will be back after signing a one-year deal last month. Alexander was a huge surprise last season, leading all Chargers in receiving yards per game after being signed off the street midseason. Rivers and Alexander developed instant chemistry, and they should be able to improve on it further this offseason. Alexander, at just 24 years of age, has the physical tools to be one of the league’s top receivers if he can stay healthy.
Another returning player who could be better than all of them is third-year receiver Vincent Brown. Brown has the hands and route-running ability to be a major factor for the Chargers offense. Rivers and Brown showed great chemistry last offseason, and many expected Brown to break out in 2012 before a broken ankle in preseason forced him out of the entire season. Currently working with the second team in OTAs, it shouldn’t be long for Brown to push Floyd and Royal for playing time.
Even with all this talent at wide receiver, the Chargers couldn’t resist taking a first-round talent like Keenan Allen in the third round of last month’s NFL Draft. Allen’s draft stock dropped due to an injury that prematurely ended his 2012 season, but he’s healthy now and ready to contribute. However, with so much depth in front of him, he may have to wait his turn before getting onto the field.
Both Brown and Allen could be excellent possession receivers for the Bolts while Alexander could be that big, playmaking receiver that the Chargers have missed since Vincent Jackson left town. The Chargers have plenty of pass catchers for Rivers, and injuries at the receiver position can no longer be an excuse. All these players (yes, Meachem included) can be a big part of the Chargers’ offense and help revive Rivers in 2013.