One of the emerging stories a week into training camp has been the strong play from 7th-round pick, Tevin Reese. With catches like these…
— Ricky Henne (@ChargersRHenne) July 26, 2014
…the rookie out of Baylor has impressed onlookers at the facilities on Murphy Canyon Road.
WR Tevin Reese and LB Kavell Connor looked impressive to me. #ChargersCamp
— Craig Medeiros (@craigmedy) July 24, 2014
— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 24, 2014
Tevin Reese on a team with a lightning bolt on the helmet makes sense.
— TeamFreakyLeg!!! (@Oakman_Rules) July 27, 2014
Moral of the story? Tevin Reese is really fast, and is showing the coaching staff in San Diego what he can do. However, what are the odds Reese — who some may not even consider a lock to make the team — makes an impact on the field in 2014?
Looking at the Chargers’ receiver depth, Keenan Allen is the unquestioned number one. As long as he’s healthy, #13 is going to be on the field for the majority of offensive snaps. The same can be said for the wide out projected to start across from Allen, Malcom Floyd. The long-time Charger is coming off a brutal neck injury that almost ended his career, but has looked great in camp. As long as his health holds up during in-game contact, its safe to assume he will be a starter. Following the two most reliable wide receivers in San Diego are veterans Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown. Royal proved valuable in the red zone and can be utilized in many different offensive roles. He also restructured his deal this offseason making him a near lock to be on the roster.
Here’s where things get interesting.
Assuming the Chargers are keeping five receivers on the active roster, Vincent Brown, Dontrelle Inman, Seyi Ajirotutu and Reese will be competing for the final two spots. San Diego is still waiting for Brown to break out and confirm the glimpses of excellence he has shown in the past. Inman is a CFL star who has the body type to replace Allen or Floyd if either go down. While Ajirotutu, or Tutu, as he’s come to be known, is a special teams ace with a nose for big moments (see last year’s win in Arrowhead).
Unfortunately, a talented player or two will not make the roster at wide receiver. But where does Reese fit in? The biggest thing the young speedster has going for him is exactly that — speed. He’s a 4.4-forty guy with a scouting report in college praising his big-play ability and intangibles as above average. The negatives? Reese only weighs 163 lbs (a size I’m sure he’s improved upon since the combine), doesn’t get the best separation, and has been uncomfortable going over the middle. For now, Reese would likely be a straight burner running a whole lot of fly routes. This may seem like it decreases his value, but he actually brings something unique to the table for the Chargers. If he can do what he did in the video above, teams will be forced to shade a safety to his side of the field. If they don’t, Reese will be in a foot race against a corner, and give Philip Rivers a home run option.
Additionally, Reese is now reportedly on kick return duty alongside Jason Verrett and Chris Davis. He can do a lot for himself in terms of making the team by proving special teams worth. In an ideal world, Reese would be able to be a gunner on kick coverage with his unmatched speed, but his slight frame brings in to question his ability to tackle consistently.
Reese really should be aiming to take Eddie Royal’s role in the offense. When the Chargers go three wide, or even into their double tight end set, Reese can be the one player with the ability to go over the top while the defense focuses on the big, physical bodies underneath. I don’t think there’s any way Reese gets cut, and it would be difficult to assume he would go unclaimed if the Chargers want to take the practice squad route. The kid is putting the other veterans at wide out on notice, and may force the Chargers to cut one of his elders.
He should see plenty of reps in the preseason and if reports out of camp are accurate, the Chargers may have found a utility player capable of taking some of the heat off of Keenan Allen in the future.