His jersey may now read No. 12, but he is going to be donning No. 1 under Philip Rivers’ pass-heavy offense come 2012.
After escaping an offense that prides itself on spreading the ball around, Robert Meachem comes to San Diego looking to land a lead role in the rotation. With V-Jax out of the picture, the regular two-reception receiver will see his workload and responsibilities undoubtedly increase.
One thing is for certain, after the explosive New Orleans aerial attack lost one of its weapons, we will now get to see the true value of his stock in San Diego.
Interesting enough, in 2011, Meachem started a career-best eight games. When you have an arsenal with the likes of Lance Moore, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, it is no wonder why his numbers weren't electric.
Meachem has proved over the years that he can contend with the best of them. And the Bolts saw his talent being wasted in the supporting role.
His greatest attribute would have to be his hands. And the way that Rivers loves threading the needle or letting loose downfield, Meachem has shown he can adjust accordingly. His lanky frame helps him acrobatically corral the off-balance throws.
Another feature that Meachem's hands bring to the table is the physical style with which he uses them. Compiled against his stellar speed, Meachem is a constant threat when he breaks free in the secondary. Once his hands do the work at the line, his speed and awareness to create opportunities leave him paired with the safety over the top—a matchup that Rivers will look to exploit religiously.
He also has the distinct awareness to spot a broken play and find the dead spot in the defenses. This unique ability will bode well for Rivers during his panicky moments of seeking out his safety valve to avoid the loss. This is something that Antonio Gates has excelled at over the years.
Where Floyd would bring in the jump ball and Vincent Brown would rely on his route running, Meachem is capable of adding both to his repertoire. Already possessed with the gift of speed and sure hands, Meachem will transcend his competition this year by simply combining all forces of nature. He is still young, with plenty of room to grow.
Another aspect of Meachem's game that makes him dangerous is his ability to line up at any receiving position on the field. This facet of his game keeps defenses confused whether a run or pass play will be called.
When Floyd or Gates are trapped in the double team, look for No. 12 to step into the role and help carry the Bolts down the stretch.
Considering the shoes that he is replacing, the expectations are rather heavy. Trust is the ingredient that gels a relationship together, and Rivers has that in Meachem. The Rivers and Meachem combination has the potential to be lethal for defenses.
I see Meachem having nothing short of a breakout season, climbing the ladder to the second level in his career and becoming an elite receiver.