WR Keenan Allen (USA TODAY Sports)
Training camp is less than a month away and fans cannot wait to get a glimpse at the new-look Chargers. But what will Bolts Backers see when the curtain is pulled back? To help answer this, we offer three predictions for the upcoming season.
Keenan Allen's rookie year will look like Vincent Jackson's
Allen was a steal in the third round, but don't expect too much from him early in 2013. The Chargers are loaded at receiver and he will be fighting for scraps behind Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd (in that order). Also, Mike McCoy may be inclined to make Robert Meachem the No. 4 receiver (at least in the beginning) because of Meachem's experience (and guaranteed salary, of course).
Look at Jackson's rookie season back in 2005: he was not activated until Week 6; he did not make his first catch till Week 9; and he did not impact a game until Week 15. Jackson turned out to be a terrific investment and the same will likely be true of Allen ... it will just take patience until Allen gains the requisite experience and opportunity.
Shareece Wright will remind people of Quentin Jammer
No player will be asked to elevate his game more than Wright, who will make his first career start when he trots out with the first-string defense in Week 1. He only has about one season's worth of experience (17 games played) and most of that time was spent covering kicks and playing in sub packages.
Wright is a physical player who will jam receivers on the line and knock them off their routes. He does not have strong ball skills (only one interception in college and none to date in the NFL), but he will scrap for his fair share of pass breakups. If he provides tight coverage and forces opposing QBs to look elsewhere that's a win, as Derek Cox and Eric Weddle are just begging for some action.
Jarius Wynn will prove to be a sneaky-good acquisition
The Chargers have a pair of studs at defensive end in Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes. The problem is there is virtually no depth behind them. Even young guns like Liuget and Reyes, both just 23, need to be rotated so they are fresh late in games. That is especially true because they will carry heavy pass-rushing burdens.
Enter Wynn, a former sixth-round pick out of Georgia with as many career starts as years in the league (four). While not a star, he brings 41 games worth of experience and stout run defense. Look for him to post numbers similar to his 2011 campaign with the Packers (16 games played, four starts, 19 tackles and three sacks).
How much of an impact will Allen make in 2013? Discuss in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.