Projecting the Chargers’ wide receiver depth chart in 2022

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Over the next couple of weeks, I will break down the depth chart for each Chargers position.

Quarterback

Running back

Next up, I project what the wide receiver room will look like heading into the 2022 season.

WR1: Keenan Allen

After dealing with injuries early on in his career, Allen has remained relatively healthy, where he’s been a consistent presence in the Chargers’ offense. Allen, the route-running technician, has amassed at least 100 catches and 1,100 yards in four of his last five seasons. 2021 marked a career-high in receptions (108), but he also had a fair share of dropped passes (8). Expected to be an area that will be cleaned up this season, the 30-year-old should resume his duties as a chain-mover with a knack for making big plays in the clutch.

WR2: Mike Williams

Williams is coming off arguably his most productive season to date, as he set career highs with 76 receptions and 1,146 receiving yards. In addition, he added nine touchdown catches in 2021. As a result, Williams signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension this offseason. A large part of his breakout year was his new role under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Not only was he a deep-field 50-50-ball threat, like how he was strictly used early in his career, but as the ‘X’ receiver, Williams attacked in the short and intermediate areas of the field and ran various routes.

WR3: Josh Palmer

The 2021 third-round pick 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, one of which was a critical fourth-and-21 touchdown in Week 18 that helped the Chargers eventually force overtime against the Raiders.

WR4: Jalen Guyton

Given his increase in target share towards the end of 2021, I gave Palmer a leg up to win the third receiver spot. However, Guyton should still see the field for 30-40% of the offensive snaps, as he is the Chargers’ best deep-field speed option. Last season, Guyton turned 48 targets into 31 catches for 448 yards (14.5 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. Furthermore, Guyton is expected to make an impact on special teams. With his great size and speed combo at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds and a 4.3 40-yard dash, the coaching staff is using that to their advantage by lining Guyton up at gunner with the punt team during OTAs and minicamp.

WR5: DeAndre Carter

I see the Chargers electing to roll with five wideouts, making this a battle for the final spot between a handful of candidates, including the most notable, Joe Reed. Reed had ankle surgery in September after a training camp injury last summer and spent the season on the practice squad injured list. Selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft, Reed would offer a versatile speed element at the position. But, ultimately, I believe Carter will earn the last spot. Signed this offseason, Carter finished third in yards averaged per kickoff return (25.11) and finished second to former Chargers’ Andre Roberts in total kickoff return yards last season. He was also one of only eight players who returned a kickoff for a score.