Breaking Down the Bolts: Wide Receivers

The roster is stockpiled with talented wide receivers and the race is in motion to see who makes the final cut. Starters Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers return in sterling form and pressure rises for the backups itching to make an impact. Teetering on the edge, Malcom Floyd and Kassim Osgood scrape for playing time.

Projected Starters

Chris Chambers' awing production last season proved him an intelligent grab from the Miami Dolphins. After beginning his Chargers career in Week 8, Chambers (5'11", 210 pounds) produced 35 receptions for 555 yards and four touchdowns.

Chambers nearly doubled his production in three postseason games with 16 receptions for 278 yards and one touchdown. He made a smooth transition over to the Bolts and he now appears entirely in sync with QB Philip Rivers.

Vincent Jackson started all 16 games last season and ranked second on the team in receptions (41) while finishing with 623 yards and three touchdowns. With the looming threat of Chambers on the other side, the defense's severe focus on Jackson had to be severed, which allowed him to nearly double his receptions from the season prior (27).

At 6'5" and 241 pounds, Jackson has the soaring height that enables him to snag the looming passes above the heads of contenders. Chambers and Jackson form a dynamite duo and force defenses to respect their full capacity.

One Hand In

WR Buster Davis
Harry How/Getty

Buster Davis and Legedu Naanee served as the primary backups last season. Davis finished his rookie season marking 20 receptions for 188 yards and one touchdown. He saw time in all but two games, including one start. Naanee saw time in 13 games, averaging 8.6 yards on eight catches while emerging as a go-to target on third downs.

Malcom Floyd's career with the Bolts seems to have hit a plateau and -- with the possible return of Eric Parker, who remained inactive last season due to a toe injury -- Floyd's days may be marked. While Naanee replaced Floyd in the rotation, Parker's return might make a comeback for Floyd even more intangible.

Parker displayed reliable talent in his previous years on the field with the Bolts and finished his 2006 season with 48 catches for 659 yards. If a healthy Parker returns, then not only will Floyd be challenged for a slot in the rotation, but both Davis and Naanee need to be prepared for the experienced veteran to be on the rise.

Kassim Osgood also lies on the bubble beside Floyd and isn't happy with his limited role on offense. A two-time AFC Pro Bowl special teams player, Osgood itches to see more time at receiver. He notably has asked to be traded but A. J. Smith has emphatically declined his request.

Undrafted Free Agents

Marco Thomas of Western Illinois spent his first year out of college jumping from the New York Giants to the Oakland Raiders to the New York Jets. After the 6'1", 175-pound receiver was waived by the Jets, he signed with the Bolts.

Thomas ended his senior year in 2006 with the Leathernecks tallying 58 receptions for 738 yards and four touchdowns. With an average of 12.7 yards per reception and 67.1 yards per game, Thomas has one year of experience in the NFL under his belt that might give him just the edge he needs to dodge the cut list.

Gary Banks of Troy (6'0", 193 pounds) led the Trojans last season in receptions (61) and receiving yards (698). He also marked three touchdown receptions. Due to his three years in the Chicago Cubs minor league system and his former years as a quarterback, he has top notch hand-eye coordination.

Billy Pittman of Texas spent much of his senior year on the sidelines due to a left shoulder injury and a NCAA suspension for improper benefits (borrowing his godfather's car). His lack of time on the field explains him only registering 11 receptions for 77 yards, compared to his previous two seasons marked with a combined 69 receptions for 1,206 yards.

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