With Tyrell Williams chasing the bag and signing with the Oakland Raiders for $44 million across the next four years, the Chargers had to say goodbye to one of Tom Telesco’s greatest UDFA finds.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last couple years, you can likely recall Tyrell’s breakout season in 2016 when Keenan Allen was lost for the year after an ACL injury in week one of that season.
Williams went on to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark after catching 69 passes and seven touchdowns, taking full advantage of the gleaming opportunity in front of him.
Each of the last two seasons, back in a complimentary role, Williams still managed to average 42 catches, 690 yards, and 4.5 touchdowns per season, while averaging 16.9 and 15.9 yards per reception in ‘17 and ‘18, respectively.
Now that he has taken his talents to The Bay, the Chargers are stuck filling the the void left by the lengthy speedster. Although the situation isn’t as dreadful given the recent emergence of Mike Williams as the team’s unabashed WR2, the skill-set that Tyrell brought was still unique and you can’t take the attention he commanded from defenses for granted. He could stretch the field with the best of them while being one of the tallest wideouts on any given field.
At this very moment, there are four wide receivers vying for playing time in the absence of Tyrell: the longest-tenured up to this point being Travis Benjamin, last year’s sixth-round selection Dylan Cantrell, and the two recently re-signed guys, Geremy Davis and Artavis Soctt.
Now, how could each receiver play a part in the Bolts’ offense in 2019? Let’s take a look.
Career Stats: 202 catches for 3,113 yards and 19 touchdowns
Benjamin was an exciting addition to the team prior to the 2016 season as a known field stretcher. He parlayed his breakout 2015 season with the Browns, in which he caught 68 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns, into a nice contract with the Bolts.
His most productive campaign with the Chargers came in his first year with the team. Like Tyrell, he took advantage of the increased snaps via Allen’s ACL tear and turned that into 47 catches for 677 yards and four touchdowns. After the emergence of Williams and the new Williams getting drafted in 2017, Benjamin found himself relegated to a much more limited role in 2018, posting the lowest season numbers of his career since his sophomore campaign (12 catches for 186 yards and a score).
This past season, Benjamin was used as nothing more than a decoy on screens and orbit motions in order to give defenses something to look at pre-snap. He eventually watched all of his special teams snaps dwindle away in favor of Desmond King, but that was because King didn’t RUN THE OPPOSITE WAY ON A PUNT RETURN AND COST THE TEAM A SAFETY AGAINST THE PATRIOTS.
Hell, even before Benjamin’s punt return debacle, he started falling fast out of Coach Lynn’s favor when he made it extremely obvious he was afraid of contact. That type of player isn’t cut-out for a Lynn-led team.