The Chargers used their 5th and 7th round picks on wide receivers Joe Reed (UV) and K.J. Hill (OSU) to fill in the rest of their offense. The team currently has 11 different receivers rostered at this point, most likely to try and handcuff some of the capital they have in their top guys. Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry (TE), and Mike Williams have all shown a propensity for injury and they have a lack of veterans behind them.
Tom Telesco took a couple of players who could add explosiveness to the offense, maybe make an impact on special teams, and fight for the third role in three-receiver sets. Let’s take a look at what both guys have to offer the Chargers this coming season.
Let’s start with Joe Reed because he is a lot more straightforward when it comes to why they chose him and where he fits into the team. The Chargers grabbed him with the 5th overall pick in the 5th round and Reed is a beast. His physical metrics are off the chart. He comes in at 6’1 and 215 pounds and ran a 4.4 forty-yard dash.
It’s easy to see that he has the physical tools to play in the league, but what about his skillset, and where he excelled at on the field. Reed’s final season for the #21 ranked Cavaliers’ team, was a pretty good view of how he played throughout his first three years there.
He started off as just a kick and punt return specialist and turned into more of a do it all playmaker his senior year as he finished with 679 receiving yards. He finished his time at Virginia as their all-time leader in return yards, kicks returned, and return touchdowns. It’s pretty simple to see why the Chargers wanted him when you look further into him.
He will be a depth pick behind Keenan Allen, and a burner who is going to keep safeties on their toes. He also has the potential to be a game-breaker in the kick and punt return game. It’s not a move that’s going to turn a lot of heads, but it’s the type of player that successful teams hone in as they try to really fine-tune the details of a possible Super Bowl winner.
Alternatively to Reed, Hill is full of question marks and discussion about possible role fits. By most scales, Hill’s combine was a bit of a bust after receiving a 43 grade out of 100. He came in twenty pounds lighter than Reed and an inch shorter. He also had a relatively mediocre 4.6 forty-yard dash and struggled with his broad jump. A player a lot of people have written off because they don’t think he’s nearly good enough an athlete to play in the NFL. Now for the good attributes.
Hill also has pretty incredible hands, making an array of one-handed catches in tight windows. He is also a pretty crisp route runner, and scouts believe he can handle the entire NFL route tree as soon as he comes into camp. The biggest issues with his weight and speed are the guys he could be lining up against. The fear is that he will not be fast enough to create separation unless they’re all shallow crossing routes, and he will struggle to create space at the line of scrimmage with initial separation trying to go over the top.
The Chargers like to run three receivers out there, and with a general lack of vets behind Williams and Allen, there is a small hope that Hill could be a good slot guy for the Chargers. With Hill, time will definitely have to be a factor on if he pans out and how, but it seems this is a case of the Chargers really trying to establish roles in their offense, as well as on special teams.
The Chargers were going for some high IQ picks by taking a couple of guys that could bring some fresh energy to the specific slot receiver and returner role. The moves demonstrated that Telesco seemed to have a plan in mind. It remains to be seen whether or not they are versatile enough to stay on the team and make a lasting impact across the board.
These two players specifically have played for big-time programs and know what a winning culture means, and they bring an exact skill set that might help in certain situations. The offensive skill players and positions are rounding into form.
Who will have the bigger impact?