There have been definitely a few exciting rookies in this year’s Los Angeles Chargers draft class, with Rashawn Slater and Asante Samuel Jr being at the forefront of that bunch. One rookie prospect that the team should be involving more is wide receiver Josh Palmer, who has very quietly been making a few plays out there. Currently, he is essentially the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart, but he ought to be bumped to third.
The Los Angeles Chargers Should Get Josh Palmer More Involved in the Offense
His Season So Far
Josh Palmer was selected 77th overall in the third round of the draft. He seemingly got a little overlooked compared to some other receivers because of poor quarterback play hampering his college production, as well as a lack of downfield speed which is more and more valued in today’s NFL. However, thanks in part to having reliable hands and also having a big enough frame to out-muscle/out-jump some defensive backs, he had a good preseason and opened up the possibilities for him being used in a slot kind of role as the third overall receiver.
This has not really come to fruition as Jalen Guyton remained the third overall receiver, but even Guyton hasn’t seen much usage – Justin Herbert has been leaning heavily on his biggest playmakers in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler, with a light dose of Jared Cook. In the first five games, Palmer only had five catches for 50 yards. Week 6 was the first time he got remotely involved more by being in for 52% of the snaps.
Palmer made his first big play of the season in Week 8 when, during garbage time in a loss to the New England Patriots, he got his only target for a 24-yard touchdown. It was a quite impressive first career touchdown, however, as he out-jumped *two* defensive backs and even “Moss’d” one of them to make the catch. Since then, he’s been more consistently been on the field for about 30% of the snaps, an improvement over before, and he has seven total touches over the last three games for 67 yards. A step in the right direction, but he arguably should be getting more time.
Comparing Josh Palmer to Jalen Guyton
Jalen Guyton broke out last year as the third overall receiver for the Chargers, primarily as a deep threat. He was good at that job, getting over 500 yards on 28 catches, despite having occasional issues with drops. This year, as the offense relied less on the deep-pass game, Guyton has not been used nearly as much, only topping 40 yards once. He’s still a good weapon to use in four-wideout sets, especially when you are wanting to push the ball down the field – but Herbert has been looking more to Mike Williams for that role this year anyway.
Ironically, Guyton does not even really fit the style of offense in this system as well as he did last year. Palmer actually makes more sense for a style of play that relies more on short-yardage passes, especially given that he can out-physical a lot of defenders. Yet he is also capable of making the big plays down the field. He also has seemingly more reliable hands than Guyton. Again, it still makes sense to use Guyton in four-wide sets, but Palmer seems to have the more appropriate skill set for the offense.
It is possible that the Chargers are trying to ease Palmer into a bigger workload and not give him a large one too quickly, especially given that it’s not like the Chargers are lacking play-makers. Hence there is no rush. But Palmer has shown – arguably just with that one touchdown catch – that he is capable of making plays, and as has been established, it would seem that his skill-set is more appropriate for this offense – just as Guyton’s skill-set was more appropriate for last year’s offense. Of course, maybe there is a thing or two he’s still working on that we don’t know about and that is the reason for him still being eased in.
Regardless, Palmer looks like a potentially exciting young receiver for the Chargers and he will definitely be worth watching as he gets more opportunities. While the Chargers may have a healthy number of strong weapons, it never hurts to have one more.
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