There has been a lot of rolling over for the Chargers this offseason.
The team has a new quarterback, a new QB of the future for the first time since 2006, and has made its respective changes to the team’s chances this season on this offshore betting website.
Several veterans are no longer on the roster such as Russell Okung, Brandon Mebane, Thomas Davis, and Travis Benjamin.
We are going to be looking at the vacated spot by Benjamin and what the Chargers 5th-round draft pick Joe Reed can do to fill those shoes.
5th Round: Joe Reed, WR, (University of Virginia)
Physicals: 6′ 0″, 224 Pounds.
40-Time: 4.47 seconds
It comes as a surprise to no Chargers fans, that the special teams unit over the past decade or so has been mediocre at best, from kicker fiascos, punting mishaps, injuries, and muffed punts. The Chargers have improved on some of these things, but one of the glaring issues was the return game.
Desmond King manned the position for most of the year in 2018 and did fantastically, but got in the doghouse with the coaching staff in 2019 after several muffed punts and poor play on special teams and defense. The guys that we’re forced to fill that return spot on the roster, struggled and the return unit rarely gave the offense good field position for their drives. The Chargers only averaged 20 yards per return, which may seem like a lot, but the top-performing returners average around 25.18 yards per return, (based on the average of net return yards for the top 10 returners in 2019).
Joe Reed was a fantastic returner back at Virginia and won several All-ACC awards for his returning and broke some records along the way. He should be a great addition to the special teams unit.
Joe Reed was another senior from the Chargers draft class and was widely underrated as a receiver and mostly known for his return ability. Reed is built like a running back, with his large frame, but has the speed and playmaking ability of a receiver. Reed was a phenomenal returner in college, to put in perspective the Chargers averaged 20 yards per return last season, Reed averaged 28.7 in his entire career at Virginia.
He is also one of only ten players in FBS history to have over 3,000 return yards. While his pass-catching skills are limited, the Chargers coaching staff still has a solid playmaker that they can coach up to help the Chargers the most.
Take a look at some of his highlights from Virginia, and it’s easy to see what the Chargers love about this guy and get excited for what Reed can bring to the team.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Reed is not the most polished receiver, however, he has two things a great work ethic and playmaking ability. Those are two things that you can’t coach, route running and catching passes is something that can be trained and coached.
He most likely won’t be used heavily in the offense this year but should start on special teams immediately. Some may view spending a 5th round pick on a return man as a wasted pick, however, the Chargers have had good luck with late-round draft picks.
Anyone that is drafted 4th round or later and can make significant playing time, or start somewhere on the roster is a steal of a pick. Reed should be the starting return man, and hopefully, the Chargers coaching staff can help him grow as a receiver and he can be an impact on the offense in the near future as well.
As the average NFL offense becomes more versatile, players like Reed will become more utilized. The Chargers have already started to bring a new offense in the Post-Rivers era, with mobile QBs in Herbert and Taylor, a dominant offensive line, and a power rushing attack.
Reed is similar to multi-use players such as Tyreek Hill, Tarik Cohen, and teammate Austin Ekeler.
While he lacks polish in certain areas of being a WR, he should bring some great playmaking ability in the open field and also bring the Chargers special team a much-needed boost in the returning department.
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