Keenan Allen declares for the 2013 NFL Draft

Harry How

Keenan Allen has forfeited his final season of college eligibility to turn pro. Allen has a good chance to be the first wide receiver off the board in the 2013 NFL Draft.

California wide receiver Keenan Allen has declared his intention to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, foregoing his senior season, according to Cal's official athletic website.

The 2012 season has been a tough one for the nation's top wide receiver prospects. Justin Hunter has struggled with drops, and Robert Woods has been overshadowed by his more talented teammate, Marqise Lee.

Meanwhile, Allen finished his college career strong, despite a knee injury that sidelined him at the end of the season. Allen finished with 61 catches for 737 yards and six scores this season, despite a train wreck quarterback situation at California.

Allen is the front runner to the first wide receiver off the board. Where other top wide receiver prospects have faltered, Allen has excelled. His hands are solid. He doesn't blow anyone away with sprinter's speed, but Allen has plenty of explosiveness, which is evident in his route running.

A.J. Green and Julio Jones have set the standard for young wide receivers in the NFL. Allen is not on that level as a prospect, but he brings a physicality to his game that, when combined with his physical ability, makes him a potential No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. He has proven with his body control that he can make tough plays on the football consistently.

Another element to Allen's game that is worth mentioning is his after the catch ability. He has solid vision and elusiveness, which helps him out in the return game and will give Allen a chance to make an immediate impact.

Look for Allen to come off the board in the top 20 picks in April. Wide receiver is becoming an increasingly valuable position in the NFL, and a handful of teams are needy at the position.

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