Keenan Allen hopes to start for San Diego Chargers

USA TODAY Sports

Rookie wideout is still recovering from a knee injury, but he believes he can start for the Chargers.

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen is the youngest receiver on the team. Nevertheless, the rookie hopes he can start in his first year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"I want to be a starter," Allen said. "I don't want to watch. I want to be part of the moment. I don't want to watch it."

The Chargers drafted Allen in the third round this spring. He missed the draft process with a knee injury, but was taking first-team reps on the final day of minicamp.

More Chargers coverage at Bolts From The Blue

New head coach Mike McCoy is running a quicker offense, and quarterback Philip Rivers is expected to get the ball out of his hands faster. Malcom Floyd, also in U-T San Diego, says that he's working on his route running and feels he's developing into a more technical receiver:

"I'm running different routes," Floyd said. "These coaches are really working on my lateral ability, a lot of these drills this offseason, getting in and out of my breaks. It's details like foot placement on curl routes, reprogramming my brain. ... I'm 10 years old in this league, but I feel a lot better than last year. I'm very excited about this upcoming year."

The Chargers' wide receiver corps is in some flux this season. Floyd started 14 games last season, but he could be pushed by Vincent Brown. Brown missed the 2012 season with a broken ankle, but he's healthy now and has the route-running ability to succeed in McCoy's new system.

Danario Alexander was a revelation for the Chargers last year. Signed off the street in October, he racked up 37 catches for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games. However, he struggled with knee injuries in the past, which is the reason the St. Louis Rams released him in the first place. The Chargers brought him back on a one-year deal to see if he can sustain that production for a whole season.

Robert Meachem signed a four-year, $25.9 million deal in the 2012 offseason, but he was a massive disappointment, recording just 14 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. The Union-Tribute says he's a "practical lock" to make the roster, mostly because he's too expensive to cut.

Eddie Royal also took first-team reps in OTAs. He wasn't much of a factor last year, getting 23 catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns, but it appears his roster spot is safe.

Allen had a prominent career at California, recording 61 catches, 737 yards and six touchdowns in his junior year before declaring for the NFL. Mocking The Draft's Matthew Fairburn was extremely bullish on Allen in his scouting report:

Keenan Allen checks in as the best wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft. His body of work is more complete than any other player at his position. He has the production, athleticism and physicality to be a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. Justin Hunter and Tavon Austin may exhibit better athleticism than Allen, but the Golden Bear is a more complete prospect than either of them. He should find a home in the top half of the first round.

Of course, Allen fell to the third round due to concerns over his knee injury, but he still has the talent and upside to excel in the NFL. If he gets more comfortable with the playbook by the time training camp starts, there's a decent chance he makes good on his word to start in 2013.


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