San Diego Chargers: What Are Realistic Predictions for Robert Meachem in 2012?

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San Diego Chargers: What Are Realistic Predictions for Robert Meachem in 2012?
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To say that Robert Meachem is the second-coming of Vincent Jackson is undoubtedly a laughable comparison, but realistic predictions for the ex-New Orleans Saints receiver are far from just average.

Toward the end of the 2011 season, it was evident that Jackson's tenure with the San Diego Chargers would be coming to an end when numerous teams courted the two-time Pro Bowl receiver. In an attempt to restock firepower in a pass-heavy offense, the Chargers looked to Meachem as a possible replacement.

In San Diego, the opportunity for Meachem to finally get the attention he needs couldn't be set up any more perfectly. Assuming Meachem is fitted into a starting role alongside Malcom Floyd, I see 900 yards receiving, 50 receptions and eight touchdowns as realistic predictions for the new San Diego receiver.

Unlike New Orleans, the Chargers like to maintain somewhat of a balance between the ground game and the passing game. Expectations for Ryan Mathews to get more carries next season keep me from believing that Meachem's numbers will go any higher than what I've predicted

In a Chargers uniform, Jackson passed 1,000 yards receiving in three different seasons while simultaneously establishing himself as one of the league's best targets. You could even make the case that Jackson's performance on the field was a critical factor in Philip Rivers' development and success with San Diego. While Jackson's presence will certainly be missed, the Chargers didn't settle for just any receiver when they landed Meachem.

In five seasons with New Orleans, Meachem never managed to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark despite playing with one of the NFL's best quarterbacks in Drew Brees. While that statement may not portray Meachem in the best of light, there's a good reason the numbers don't match up with the talent.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It's pretty clear the Saints have one of the most electrifying passing offenses in the NFL. Since 2009, New Orleans has ranked near the top in passing yards, including 2011 in which they led the league with 5,347 yards. With numbers like that, the recipe for success in New Orleans is truly a team effort.

During the 2011 season, the Saints aerial attack heavily relied on the efforts of players like Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles and Lance Moore. Meachem was the fifth-ranked receiver on the team in both receptions and yards. To put it quite simply, Meachem was the casualty of an overcrowded offense.

Meachem has already been putting work in during San Diego OTAs (h/t Rotoworld.com), and all signs point to a much-improved year for the 27-year-old.

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