Kevin Dyson upgrades sad Charger unit

Just days after David Boston was jettisoned to the East Coast, the San Diego Chargers signed Kevin Dyson. Dyson, a former first round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans, is looking to resurrect his career after he tore his left Achilles in training camp a year ago with the Carolina Panthers. It was a move of necessity for both Dyson and the Bolts with very little risk from the Chargers point of view.

The benefit to signing Kevin Dyson to a one year deal is he is already in his contract year. He is playing for something and has a lot to prove after injuries have derailed a once promising career.

Dyson called his signing with the Chargers a "no-brainer" and that is true. Perhaps sadly, he becomes the best receiver the Chargers have. The team is chock full of number two and number three receivers, but Dyson offers up a tad bit more – if he can remain healthy.

He has explosive speed, but those same legs that managed to get him into the first round of the 1998 draft have failed him over his career, so much so that he said, "I might just have crutches implanted into my shoulders."

As a sophomore he caught 54 balls and seemed destined for greater things. Then the injuries started to mount.

He missed 14 games in 2000 after suffering a career-threatening knee injury. He tore two ligaments and cartilage in his left knee and suffered some bone damage.

He had a career-best 54 receptions following his knee injury in 2001 and followed that up with 41 catches the following season, despite five games of the season. And, of course, last season he caught just two balls after tearing his left Achilles.

A one year deal for the potential he brings is a smart move by Chargers management. While he is clearly not a true number one receiver, he has the potential to add a dimension to the offense that was clearly missing. He may not be the home run threat as he was in the past, but no other receiver on the roster can come close to what he can offer.

Dyson is still a deep threat, and can open up some sort of downfield passing attack. He also does a great job of catching short passes and turning them into big plays – provided he has not lost a step. He was widely considered the second best receiver to come out of the 1998 draft behind Randy Moss. Dyson has excellent body control, solid, but not great hands and has consistently improved his route running.

Upgrading the worst wide receiving group in the NFL is clearly not easy with so many needs. Grabbing Dyson may have been a step in the right direction.

The Chargers have their eyes set on Raleigh on Monday – the same day Larry Fitzgerald will work out at his Pro Day in Pittsburgh. It is conceivable they will make the trip early to Pittsburgh before heading south and maybe they already know Fitzgerald is full of character and heart, but one would think if they were serious about a receiver they would make it a point to schedule a private workout and announce it to the world as they have with the three quarterbacks they will look at and Gallery.

With that in mind it seems the third round is the earliest they can consider a receiver, barring a trade down. Some good ones figure to still be on the board when round three comes around and this signing may help bridge the gap before a rookie is ready for a more prominent role. Clearly there are very few Anquan Boldin's coming into the league, no matter what the hype.

Dyson now heads a class that includes Tim Dwight, Eric Parker, Kassim Osgood, Reche Caldwell, Micah Ross and Grant Mattos. Not exactly the greatest show on earth. The numbers crunch in camp could mean the end of three of these receivers currently on the roster.

When you have the worst receiving group in the league, these small signings are big.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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