Chargers Undrafted: Height Rules Again

It is no coincidence that five wide receivers were signed a day after the draft. The San Diego Chargers picked just one player with wide receiver experience, Ryan Krause. The plan, however, is to turn him into an H-back. Therefore, the Chargers, devoid of a number one receiver, were a prime place for undrafted wide receivers to sign.

It is no coincidence that an emphasis was placed on the position amongst the undrafted ranks. Five players were signed: Malcom Floyd, Ruvell Martin, Luke Powell, James Terry and Wes Welker.

The focus is on who will contend for a spot as a wide out. Naturally, the thinking focuses on those with height. Those who fall under 5-9, and no offense to them, will likely be relegated to the return game.

The team currently has Kevin Dyson, Tim Dwight, Eric Parker, Kassim Osgood and Reche Caldwell ahead of any challengers on the depth chart at wide receiver making it tougher to break through.

Height has certainly been one of the key traits the team is looking for from a wide receiver. They still dream of fade routes being caught in the end zone. The current cast of receivers, minus Osgood, lacks the height that is becoming the norm outside of San Diego.

This gives three a legitimate shot at making the club strictly as a wide out:

Malcom Floyd grabs the fruit from his 6-4.5 frame. Floyd snared 63 receptions for 834 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. Injuries limited his junior year after he burst on the scene with 44 hauls as a sophomore.

Floyd boasts great speed and can release well off the line, fighting through initial contact. He also will use his body to shield defenders from the ball. Unfortunately, Floyd does not have in-game speed and seems content with his game. His desire to get better is the real question, despite being viewed as a high character guy.

Martin checks in at 6-4 with a 37" vertical jump. He was a first team All-GLIAC selection after ranking eighth in the conference in total receptions and was also a member of the GLIAC All-Academic Team. Ruvell grabbed a career-high 54 receptions for 632 yards and hauled in five touchdowns. He also added five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Whataburger Cactus Bowl.

Martin is not afraid to cross the middle of the field and get hit. The four-year starter lacked the top competition and routinely beat out his 6-0 defenders. The biggest knock on Martin is the level of competition.

James Terry touches the tree limbs at 6-3.5. The JuCo transfer caught 64 balls for 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, more than doubling his previous highs of 28/561/5.

Speed and strength dropped him from being a selection, but he has a lot to work with. Terry is an excellent route runner with sure hands and shows a nice ability to make tough catches. The former quarterback played in an option style offense and wasted his competition at receiver. The closest man to his 64 catches was stuck in reverse at 28.

The most likely player on the outs is one that took a pay cut to stay in San Diego. Tim Dwight may have the hearts of the female fans, but his health and lack of production have put him in dire straits. Dwight thought he might be let go last year and this year those feeling may be magnified tenfold.

The upper hand right now goes to Terry for excelling at a top school that is not known for their passing game. Martin has the most athleticism and will have to prove he can play with the big boys. Floyd has the best overall tools but James Lofton will have to be in his ear.

The fight will come down to the end and if one player makes the roster, another player has a good shot of sticking on the practice squad.

The early bet from here goes to Floyd. Look for him to put it all together now that a chance to play in the NFL looms.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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