NFL teams value big-play wide receivers more than ever in today's game, and Keenan Allen, a junior from California, is projected by many to be the best available wideout in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft.
Allen, at 6'3, 206 pounds, has the ability to win jump balls down the field and is a physical, complete package of a receiver -- he's also SB Nation's top-rated receiver prospect. In 2012 for the Golden Bears, he caught 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns. He initially was set to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide as a safety before switching to California and the wide receiver position.
- SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn has a detailed scouting report for Allen, noting that his elusiveness after the catch (YAC, to use the designated buzzword) is one of his best qualities.
- Not-great quarterbacking. Much like Larry Fitzgerald toiling away with the Arizona Cardinals and fondly remembering the Kurt Warner days, Allen didn't exactly have one of college football's elite signal-callers in Zach Maynard. Still, this may have only served to further showcase his skills, as Fairburn writes that Allen's ability to contort his body and pull down catches shows it doesn't need to be a perfect situation for Allen to excel.
- Physical traits. With his height and sneaky speed, Allen can race by defenders, then jump over them to win a ball at its highest point. CBSSports.com's Rob Rang says this is due to, among other things, superior hand-eye coordination.
Here's a compilation from draftbreakdown.com of Allen against Ohio State and USC this season, in which he caught 18 overall passes for 173 total yards:
- Drops. Not sure why, but it seems that the receivers who make incredible catches are also susceptible to a case of the drops once in awhile. Allen is this receiver.
- A knee injury suffered late in the 2012 season will be tested in pre-draft workouts, and could affect his stock if it limits his athleticism.
- NFL.com's profile believes Allen's speed isn't quite at the top-level in that category.
- CBSSports.com's Rob Rang says this about Allen:
Allen's size, physicality and relatively precise route-running should help him emerge as a legitimate No. 1 wideout in the NFL, especially in a timing-based West Coast Offense that caters to his strengths.
- During their 2012 season roundup, SB Nation's Pacific Takes lists Allen as an offensive highlight:
Let's not kid ourselves, Keenan kept the offense respectable almost by himself, and things looked significantly uglier when he got hurt. There are some talented guys, but nobody in Keenan's league yet.
Allen wrapped up his career at California as the school's all-time leader in catches, with 205; third in receiving yards, with 2,570, and seventh all-time in touchdown receptions, with 17.
Visit this link to see Allen's career stats with the Golden Bears.
2013 NFL Combine performance:
Allen was forced to sit out of workouts in Indianapolis as he continues to recover from the torn PCL that ended his junior season prematurely. He had been looking forward to showcasing his speed in the 40-yard dash among a fast group of receivers. Unfortunately for him, his draft stock may have taken a slight hit as NFL scouts watched players like DeAndre Hopkins, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tavon Austin and Marquise Goodwin tear up the field.
Allen hopes to make up ground by holding his own Pro Day on April 9, where he will run through all of the Combine drills he missed. If he can dash concerns about his knee, he could shoot back up into the upper half of the first round in NFL Draft projections.
You can find Allen on Twitter @KAAdeuce1.
Here's a sample:
Special s/o to the homies for showing off in their career at CAL being selected to perform at the NFL… instagr.am/p/WKPUUTMcUI/— Keenan Allen (@KAAdeuce1) February 25, 2013