3 Chargers poised to have breakout seasons in 2022

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Every season, there are players who break out onto the scene who may not have been dominant the season before, whether they had limited snaps, dealt with an injury, or just improved as a player in the offseason.

It’s no different for a few Chargers players poised to have breakout campaigns and help the team with genuine Super Bowl hopes this upcoming season.

CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, Samuel strung together a solid rookie season. On 58 targets, he surrendered 36 completions while registering 11 passes defended and two interceptions, which tied for a team-best with safety Derwin James. Samuel, however, suffered two concussions, which limited him to 12 games. Now fully healthy, Samuel will enter his sophomore season in a secondary that now features All-Pro J.C. Jackson. With Jackson aboard, it will allow Samuel to play inside or outside, depending on the package, where he should resume his playmaking skills and establish himself as one of the top young corners in this league.

WR Josh Palmer

The third-round pick out of Tennessee made his mark right from the jump last summer, showing off his size, ability to separate and catch everything consistently. It carried over to the regular season. However, his snap count was not reflective of his efforts. Instead, Palmer was overshadowed by Jalen Guyton, who was on the field nearly three times as much as Palmer, yet had not been as productive with his playing time until the midway part of the season, when he became more involved. Palmer ended up catching 33 passes for 353 yards with four touchdowns, with one of them being a critical fourth-and-21 touchdown in Week 18 that helped the Chargers eventually force overtime against the Raiders. Los Angeles will return Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Guyton. Still, given his increase in target share towards the end of 2021 and another entire offseason with Justin Herbert, Palmer should be an integral piece of the offense in 2022.

OT Trey Pipkins

The Chargers will have a battle for the starting right tackle spot between Pipkins, Storm Norton, and potentially Matt Feiler. Therefore, this is more of an assumption by slotting Pipkins here. But I’m a firm believer that Pipkins has the leg up for the job. Pipkins played well in his only two starts in 2021, both in pass protection and run blocking, and has spent this offseason working with highly touted offensive line developer Duke Manyweather. Meanwhile, Norton was the starting right tackle last season, and he had his fair share of struggles, allowing 60 pressures and nine sacks. And ultimately, I think the plan, for now, is to keep Feiler at left guard. Given his gradual progress each season and playing for another contract, whether, with Los Angeles or another team, Pipkins could be viable in a full 17-game slate.