After finishing up his career in college as a California Golden Bear, Keenan Allen was said to be a possible first round draft selection in 2013. Many draftniks considered him to be the best wide receiver in last year’s draft class. Despite displaying many valuable traits that would translate to success in the NFL, Allen fell right into the laps of the San Diego Chargers in the third round.
It goes without saying that Keenan made his mark, even as a rookie, in 2013. Though he was frustrated by a lack of reps to begin the season – he even considered quitting football altogether – he put together an extremely solid rookie campaign. Allen finished the regular season with 71 receptions good for 1,046 yards and 8 touchdowns. Those numbers had him with an impressive 14.7 yards per catch. In his first year he managed to have five 100+ receiving yard games which tied him for the most by a rookie receiver since 1961.
Not too shabby.
The rapport that he built with quarterback Philip Rivers in such a short time certainly stood out to me. As the season continued, KA13 became a reliable weapon that Rivers would look to early and often. He became the serious threat the Bolts were in dire need of due to the losses of Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander to injuries. He did not disappoint.
Though he had a spectacular first year in San Diego, I believe he’ll have an even better season as a sophomore in the NFL.
Are my lofty expectations for Keenan Allen a mistake? Is that asking too much of a second-year wideout?
I do not believe so.
Allen has looked fantastic thus far throughout training camp. His route running is crisp and on point and he manages to snag every pass thrown in his general vicinity. Quite frankly, he has made some of the San Diego secondary look silly at times. And that group is, without a doubt, improved from last year. He is great in and out of breaks and attacks the ball at its highest point. Some of the plays he has made in the redzone during drills have me thinking that our putrid 2013 redzone proficiency – bottom half of the league – will be improved as well.
The Charger wide receiving group should help provide Keenan with the opportunity to make even more plays than he did last year. Watching Malcom Floyd on the field at training camp means that he has a true playmaker opposite him on offense. Add in guys like Antonio Gates, Eddie Royal and Ladarius Green and you have a solid stable of weapons. Not to mention, the trio of running backs consisting of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown will give defensive coordinators nightmares leading up to games against the Bolts as they are all very capable receivers out of the backfield.
I’m not prepared to predict a 1,500 yard and 15 touchdown showing from Keenan Allen in 2014. But, I feel very comfortable saying that his numbers will be better this year than they were as a rookie. The good news is we don’t have to wait much longer to see it all come to fruition.
The San Diego Charger season is creeping up on us. Are you ready? I know I am.
Thanks a lot for reading.