Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Los Angeles Chargers Tight Ends Preview

The Chargers tight end up is essentially unchanged from last year, but more is at stake now for some of them.
Chargers Tight Ends

The Los Angeles Chargers will be going into the season with the tight ends lineup mostly unchanged from last year. However, some of their outlooks have changed or progressed since then, due to surpassed or unfulfilled expectations. The main starter at tight end is firmly set in place, and the backup spots probably are as well. However, more of them may be in make-or-break years than before.

Previewing the Los Angeles Chargers Tight Ends

The Starter: Gerald Everett

Gerald Everett came in last year through free agency as the new starter at tight end under a two-year deal. He did have career-high numbers in 2022, finishing with 58 receptions for 555 yards and four touchdowns. However, the numbers were a little underwhelming given how much Justin Herbert seems to like targeting tight ends. And given how many injuries there were last year – which Everett avoided – one would think there would have been plenty of opportunity. That said, he did have arguably his best game of the year in the Wildcard game where he finished with six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Going into the 2023 season, his spot is firmly secure as the starter, though he might need to do a little better this year to ensure his contract gets renewed next year. The new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore does like to utilize tight ends heavily, so the opportunity should certainly be there, even though there are a lot of mouths to feed on this offense. He’s been off to a good start in training camp, so if he stays more consistent this year, he could very well have career-high numbers again.

The Backup: Donald Parham

Donald Parham has been the backup tight end for the last few years and has primarily been used as a red zone threat, where his 6’8 height makes him a matchup nightmare. His lack of strong blocking ability has limited his utility a little, but more than that, he’s been bogged down by injuries lately. Late in the 2021 season, he took a scary head injury; he recovered from that, but spent some time on injured reserve later for a different injury, and only played in six games.

If he’s able to stay healthy this year, he may find himself in the running for more red zone looks than before under Moore’s offense. He’s one of the best threats they have in that category, and with Moore already looking to utilize the tight ends more, Parham may stand to benefit. His spot may be precarious as well, however, if he doesn’t produce more in this offense this year.

The Depth: Tre McKitty, Stone Smartt

Tre McKitty was a third-round selection in 2021, and he has not lived up to that billing at all so far. Through two seasons, he has only 16 catches for 117 yards. He was unable to step up in 2022 with Parham out. The Chargers still seem to have some degree of hope in him, but there does seem to be an undercurrent that this is going to have be the year he shows something in order to stick around.

Stone Smartt was an undrafted free agent that unexpectedly sneaked onto the final roster last year, and finished with four catches for 17 yards. His nabbing a roster spot last year might have been a result of Parham’s injuries. But he’s had a solid training camp, and he could make a play for a spot again – especially with McKitty apparently not taking much of a leap, if at all.

Everyone Else: Hunter Kampmoyer, Michael Ezeike

Hunter Kampmoyer has been a perennial practice squad member for the last two years for the Chargers. He has been active for exactly one game in that time and had no catches. Barring anything unexpected, he is probably bound for the practice squad again. His only competition is undrafted free agent Michael Ezeike, who isn’t looking to be much more than an extra training camp body at this point.


Main Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message