There has been a real buzz surrounding the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason, both for good and bad reasons. From adding Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator to Austin Ekeler asking out, the Chargers have plenty of storylines to follow.
But the biggest headline is Justin Herbert’s extension, making him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. Deserving of this deal, Herbert will be in the spotlight early and often as the Chargers try to make some postseason noise this year.
Drafting TCU WR Quentin Johnston in April added yet another weapon to Herbert’s arsenal, and the skyscraper wideout has impressed a lot so far during camp. Forgotten-about TE Gerald Everett is the clear TE1 for Herbert, giving the former Oregon Duck five solid targets in this offense.
In years past, the Chargers have been incredibly one-dimensional, reliant on Herbert’s right arm to win games. While it is evident that Moore will try to add more balance to the offense, I don’t think that means that Herbert will get fewer opportunities.
Justin Herbert is going to let it fly this season 🚀 pic.twitter.com/fv6vEU1an3— PFF (@PFF) July 28, 2023
A perfect area that Moore can help this offense out with is the route tree for the receivers, putting Herbert in a position to improve upon his 2022 aDOT. With a trio of solid wideouts, Herbert will be tasked with stretching the field vertically more than horizontally in 2023.
At QB11, QB2, and QB9, the fantasy finishes that Herbert has produced the last three seasons, a top-five finish is in the cards yet again. With an improved offensive line to help keep him upright and more emphasis put on a balanced offensive attack very well could unlock MVP-level Herbert.
Currently coming off the board as the QB7 around pick 64, Herbert has a great chance to eclipse any previous career bests. As a suggestion, you should probably try to move as much of the farm as you can (reasonably) to acquire Herbert.
The storm seemed to have blown over for Ekeler’s future in LA – and then the RB collapse of ’23 occurred. With Jonathan Taylor and Josh Jacobs doing their part to help out the position, Ekeler may decide to join them in the picket line this offseason.
However, with signs pointing to Ekeler being a full-go for LAC this season, he certainly looks to be one of the better RBs for this upcoming season. Just don’t expect as large of a workload as in previous years.
Pass-catching regression is likely in the cards for Ekeler this year, but maybe not as much as you may think. When Moore oversaw Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, he gave both ample passing-game work, great news for Ekeler.
It is important to note that toward the end of last season, Joshua Kelley saw an uptick in work, potentially pointing to who will hold the RB2 role behind Ekeler. Nobody will take a big chunk of Ekeler’s workload, but Moore does favor a committee-esque approach – with a clear leader.
Kelley pulled away from Larry Rountree for the backup role last season, earning five-plus carries in the final four games. While that was under a previous offensive staff, Moore likely will look to Kelley before Isaiah Spiller or others.
It has been an oddly-quiet offseason and training camp for Keenan Allen so far, which means he is staying healthy. If Allen can remain healthy, Herbert will have an absolute field day, which will be music to rosters everywhere.
Drafted as the WR19, Allen is between Deebo Samuel and Jerry Jeudy, near Christian Watson and Drake London. Allen is the best option out of all five in this grouping, provided he stays healthy.
Williams put up a respectable season last year across 13 games, producing 63/895/4 on 93 targets. As is with Allen, Williams’ health is a huge issue, having only played one full season across his six-year career.
Williams sees consistent time in the slot during camp, ultimately allowing the Chargers’ offense to hunt mismatches. With his superb athleticism, Williams easily could produce another 1,000-yard season, especially if he sees a ton of slot work.
Both Johnston and Joshua Palmer are fighting for the WR3 role. Palmer has the experience edge, but Johnston has a higher pedigree, likely making Moore want to give him a shot.
Johnston has addressed the ‘concerns’ Twitter had about his body-catching tendencies, showcasing arrogant hands at times. His first-round pedigree has been on full display throughout camp so far, and if you are looking to upgrade your WR room with a young option, Johnston easily slots in as the WR3 from this most-recent draft class behind Jaxson Smith-Ngiba and Jordan Addison.
Palmer was impressive last season, stepping in for when Allen and Williams missed time with injuries. Averaging more than nine targets a game with Williams out and five or more targets with Williams healthy, Palmer could be the WR3 – but it’s convoluted.
It feels like Gerald Everett holds this role every single season – an under-appreciated sleeper at TE with a top-10 upside. And look, that’s precisely the role Everett likely will have this season again.
The Chargers value Everett plenty, but with investments made at every other offensive skill position, TE draws the short stick. But this year might be a bit different – and in a good way for Everett.
Under Kellen Moore…— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 26, 2023
Dalton Schultz was the TE3 in 2021
and the TE10 (ppg) in 2022
Chargers added no new names to the TE room
Gerald Everett is one of my favorite picks as TE18, with a possible Top 7 season
👉📺 4 Best TE Sleepers https://t.co/vP0RcFL4Ic pic.twitter.com/0q34TaHQac
Expecting a Dalton Schultz-level target share isn’t in the cards for Everett, especially with how many other pass-catchers there are. But as a late-round dart throw (current ADP: TE16, 148.1), it fits the bill pretty darn well.
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