Top 10 Chargers Training Camp Standouts

What players blew up the highlight reel the most at Chargers Training camp?

With the first two weeks of Chargers training camp complete, here are the players that have been making an impression.

Josh Palmer

Wide receiver Josh Palmer has distinguished himself from the larger position group in these first couple weeks of camp. On Day 5, Chargers senior writer Eric Smith reported that, “The play of the day went to wide receiver Joshua Palmer, who needed just one palm to haul in an acrobatic catch while staying in bounds.” On Day 6, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Palmer beat cornerback Michael Davis twice during a two-minute drill with “a specular leaping catch, securing the ball through Davis’ contest and getting both feet in bounds while falling to the ground.”

And those are just two instances of the many strides that Palmer has been making. With the injuries to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, Palmer was a big part of this offense last year with career-highs in receiving yards (799) and receptions (74). Despite the presence of Quentin Johnston, Palmer’s making his mark.

John Hightower

Before training camp, wide receiver, John Hightower was nowhere on my radar and now he may have a shot at being a backup. Hightower was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round of 2020. He played the most snaps for them that year with 167 receiving yards and 10 receptions. He was put on their practice squad in August of 2021 and waived a year later. He was then signed to the Chargers practice squad in 2022.

On the very first day of training camp, according to Smith, Hightower caught a 50-yarder from Justin Herbert for a touchdown and that was the first of a few that he has made in camp. Popper on Day 4 remarked that he has, “been equally impressed with Hightower’s footwork and hands so far in camp. He made a remarkable toe-tap catch for a touchdown during red zone 11-on-11 drills in Monday’s practice.”

Popper thinks the Chargers may go with six receivers. If Hightower plays in preseason games with this same consistency, I can see him making the 53-man roster.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
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Asante Samuel Jr.

Cornerback Asante Samuel is trying to carve out his place in this defense and has been battling with Ja’Sir Taylor for that third cornerback spot. He’s been playing outside and inside and may end up in the “star” role. The star is a versatile corner that is moved to different positions based on the personnel on the offense. On Day 6 of camp, Samuel had three pass breakups on Johnston. Samuel also had quite a few on Williams on Day 7.

Popper remarked in his article that the back and forth between Taylor and Samuel for the “star” position is the “fiercest position battle right now.” They’re both giving it their all and it’s not yet clear who will come out on top.

Ja’Sir Taylor

During camp, Ja’Sir Taylor has been playing in the same spots as Samuel. On Day 4, Smith reported that “Ja’Sir Taylor forced incompletions on three straight pass plays that came his way in the end zone in full-team drills.” Like Samuel, he’s getting a lot of opportunities to show off. Derrick Ansley in his press conference on Day 5 remarked that Taylor was playing well and tough. He’s getting noticed, but we’ll see if the preseason games put him over the edge for the slot position.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Rookie Minicamp
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Quentin Johnston

Wide receiver Quentin Johnston is definitely living up to the hype of his first round draft status as he’s been making some great catches. Smith relayed on the Chargers first day in pads that “Mike Williams and Quentin Johnston — both big-bodied wide receivers — showed off their athleticism with leaping touchdown catches in the back corner of the end zone in the drill.”

He’s had those types of completions with both Herbert and Easton Stick, as on Day 8 he caught a 50-yarder from Stick. He still needs fine-tuning, which Kellen Moore recognizes as he said on D5ay 2 that Johnston has the physical aspects down but needs to get the mental ones as well. So far it seems like things are looking up for him.

Kenneth Murray

Linebacker, Kenneth Murray has been popping up a lot in Chargers training camp news. Murray stopped a few plays on Day 6. And then on Day 7, Popper reported that “Murray had one of the best defensive plays of the day in 11-on-11. On a first-down Spiller handoff, Murray shot through an inside gap for a tackle-for-loss. Murray has looked much more comfortable in run defense so far in camp.” He was making similar plays during the Chargers intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday.

Defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day said in his press conference on Day 6 that Murray had been having a great camp so far and that he’s growing a lot. According to Pro Football Focus, Murray’s run defense grade was the lowest of his career last year at 28.2, so it’s great he’s been working on this particular aspect of his game and hopefully, this translates to the regular season.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Minicamp
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Cameron Dicker

Cameron Dicker so far has been the only kicker making field goals since the early days of Chargers training camp as Dustin Hopkins has been out with an injury. As of Day 7, Popper reported that “Dicker has now made 30 of 34 field goals in team drills in camp, good for an 88-percent success rate.” He’s been making a range of kicks from the 50s to the 20s and seems to be solidifying his place as the kicker in Hopkin’s absence. Maybe this camp battle is close to being won.

Justin Herbert

Quarterback Justin Herbert seems to be on another level. With a monster five-year, $262.5 million contract finished just before the start of camp, he’s been able to completely focus on football. In his first press conference since the deal was made, he says he feels free, and that’s evident. On Day 2 Smith remarked that Herbert made completions of 40-plus yards to Williams and Allen, and this theme of deep throws has just continued throughout Chargers training camp. I’m really excited to see this offense in action and for Herbert to be unleashed to do what he does best.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Minicamp
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Michael Davis

Cornerback Michael Davis has been very active this training camp. Davis had two pass breakups on Palmer on Day 3. And on Day 7 in a two-minute drill, he could have sacked Herbert if it was a real game. Davis was one of the most improved players last year and looked phenomenal. And so far, it looks like that positive performance will continue this season.

J.C. Jackson

Popper reported that cornerback J.C. Jackson left practice on Day 7 of Chargers Training Camp and wasn’t practicing on Day 8 or 9. He’s on this list as it’s remarkable he’s been out there at all, considering the extent of his injury. Fingers crossed he continues to make strides toward being fully healthy and doesn’t have any setbacks.

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