A handle on the last receiver spots

With Keenan McCardell, Eric Parker and Reche Caldwell entrenched as the Chargers' top three wide receivers, the battle for playing time behind them figures to be intense. The team has a trio of tall receivers battling to get onto the field, but at least one of them figures to be very disappointed.

The Competitors:

Vincent Jackson:

A second-round pick out of Northern Colorado, Jackson is built like a tight end at six-foot-five and 241 lbs. His speed and agility allow him to play receiver, however, and he has the hands and desire necessary to dominate opponents.

"There is definitely a lot of stuff thrown at you," said Jackson. "You put your head down and grind through it." Jackson did just that in college, although his production came against a lower level of competition. Still, 177 career catches for 3,548 yards and 37 touchdowns is impressive no matter who the competition is. Jackson also returned kicks in college, something he may do in San Diego as well.

Jackson's collegiate coach, Kay Dalton, doesn't mince words when speaking of his former pupil.

"I coached in the NFL for 15 years," Dalton said, "and he's about as good as I've seen."

Kassim Osgood:

As Osgood prepares for his third season with the team, he is no longer fighting for just a roster spot. He has established himself as a big-play threat (as evidenced by his 20.5 yards per catch last year) and as a special teams force (he finished last season with 10 tackles on coverage units).

At six-foot-five and 220 lbs., Osgood has the size to create frequent mismatches in the gold zone. He has strong hands and is aggressive going after the ball. He is also a punishing blocker.

For the second consecutive year, Osgood spent the summer training with Randy Moss in Florida. The five-week program helped improve not only his speed, but his confidence as well.

"I want to be more of a factor on offense," Osgood said. "My goal for myself is to score at least 10 touchdowns."

Malcom Floyd:

The third member of the Chargers' trio of tallville is Floyd, a six-foot-five, 201 lb. receiver from Wyoming. As a rookie last season, Floyd spent most of the year on the practice squad. He was signed to the active roster late in the season, and actually started the year's final two contests. In the season finale, he made his first career touchdown catch on Philip Rivers' only touchdown toss of the season.

Floyd has always been a player with enormous potential. The catch with him is that he must continue working on his technique and focus, so that he can turn that potential into production. After working diligently with receivers coach James Lofton all last year, Floyd feels he is ready to make a big leap in his sophomore campaign.

Floyd knows that the experience he received last year, although limited, will be hugely beneficial to him in his second season.

"It helps your experience level go up," Floyd said of the playing time he received as a rookie, "and lets you know how fast it's going to be once you're in there."

Who Should Win:

Osgood should win the number four spot. He has shown he can deliver on the field, and has put in the work both on special teams and in the offseason to merit an increased role. Jackson should be the number five receiver, so that he'd be active on gameday, and could therefore be deployed in certain packages to fit his unique skill set. Floyd should be kept on the roster as well, as he appears destined to develop into something special.

Who Will Win:

It appears that Jackson will be the number four receiver, as the team wants to start preparing him to be a possible go-to receiver as soon as possible. Osgood would then have to be the number five receiver, as the team wants him active on gameday so that he can make his impact on special teams. Floyd will stick around and provide great depth, and possibly more.

The Bottom Line:

Reche Caldwell is in the last year of his contract and Keenan McCardell is 35 years old. These three receivers may be battling for leftovers this season, but they may be the collective face of the Chargers' aerial attack in the not-too-distant future. If they can each live up to their massive potential, that would be stellar news for Chargers fans everywhere.

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