The receiving core for the Los Angeles Chargers was out of sorts last year when Jalen Guyton went down with a season-ending ACL injury. In addition to that they lost Keenan Allen and Mike Williams each for a handful of games.
After the draft last week, things seem to be looking up with the additions of wide receivers Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis, both from TCU. Johnston will add big-bodied, contested catch ability, while Davis will add speed and special teams skills.
As far as the veteran receivers go, Josh Palmer will look to exceed his career-high receiving yards (799) from last year, while Allen will look to pick up where he left off after playing in the later half of the season. Williams will hopefully stay healthy and restart the momentum from his career-high 2021 season.
But where does Jalen Guyton fit? He was signed to a one-year $1,232,500 with $76,000 guaranteed, so it begs the question, with all the new talent on the roster plus the returning talent, will Guyton fill a crucial role for the Chargers and finally stand out this year?
How Has Jalen Guyton Looked in Previous Seasons?
Guyton had the same amount of receiving touchdowns in 2020 as in 2021 (three) and had a career-high of 551 receiving yards in 2020 and got close in 2021 with 448. Guyton has this innate ability to get open in space and can catch some of those jump balls and contested catches that are just beautiful to watch. He’s fast and he has some great plays where he’s just outgunning defenders.
Guyton though hasn’t gotten as much of a chance to shine as others on the team like Williams and Allen. Even in 2020 with a career-high in receiving yards, Guyton only had 52 receiving targets, while Allen that same season had 138 and Williams had 81. It’s hard to stand out when you have to contend for targets with players like Allen with crazy route-running ability and Williams, who’s so tall and big-bodied and makes these aggressive plays.
Guyton is smaller than Williams, but has some of the same traits of both he and Allen, with an extra dash of speed, but has had less of an opportunity to develop over the course of his career. And the injury has further hampered him from really getting anything going.
The Season Outlook for Guyton
Guyton was brought back for another year, meaning the Chargers have a lot of confidence in him, but with these younger players coming up, and with how Palmer looked last year, and how Allen and Williams always look when healthy, it’s going to be a tough position group to get on the field. I’m not sure if Guyton has that “it” factor to stand out, but maybe he’ll surprise us, and firmly take that wide receiver three role off the table.