What do you mean, Keenan Allen playing slot receiver? Just bear with me while I attempt to persuade you.

A slot receiver, by definition, is a player in the offensive formation between the offensive line and the player closest to the sideline and at least a yard off of the line of scrimmage. That space can be occupied by a wide receiver, tight end or running back. It is often used when the offense wants to confuse the defense by having more than one receiver on the same side of the field. Utilizing this tactic generally forces the opposing team to adjust their coverage scheme by making alignment changes or adding extra defensive backs to ensure that the player in that “slot” has someone on him.

While at University of California – Berkeley (UCB), Allen was used in several different formations: split wide at receiver, in the slot and in the backfield. He primarily played the slot position while at UCB, so the role would be nothing new to him. Being quick off the line of scrimmage whether the ball is coming his way or if he is being a decoy can only help Philip Rivers in the long run. Although Allen may not have top speed, he does have the ability to change speed quickly. Prior to the draft, NFL analyst Charles Davis stated “…he didn’t run very fast at his pro day, but the comparisons for him: he plays the game a lot like Anquan Boldin and has hands like Larry Fitzgerald”. Current players also known as slot receivers are: Jeremy Maclin (Kansas City Chiefs), Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos), Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys), Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers) and free agent Wes Welker.

Allen has played 29 games in his two years with the Bolts and has 148 receptions of which 95 went for first down. Other than his receiving yardage, there are only punt return statistics for him: 26 attempts for 224 yards with 24 fair catch calls and zero touchdowns. In comparison, here is what newly-signed Jacoby Jones amassed during his first two years (2007-2008 and 30 games) in the league. As a receiver, Jones recorded 18 receptions and 11 of those were for first down. His punt return numbers: 672 yards on 62 attempts, 24 fair catches made, two TDs. On kick offs, 17 attempts for 358 yards (zero touchdowns, zero fair catches made).

Perhaps the argument can be made to move Keenan Allen to the slot since he is considerably younger than Jacoby Jones and Jones has more NFL experience overall in that position. So you are aware, though he is also on the team now, Stevie Johnson was not included in this comparison because he was only used in the return game his initial season (2008).

I know what I would do if the decision was left up to me…however, where do you think Allen lines up this season?

Thanks and Bolt Up!

Cheryl White

3 Responses to Keenan Allen to Slot?

  • OPBolt says:

    I also think K. Allen can be very effective from the slot and would like to see him there periodically, just to confuse defenses. But I’m not sure about being a full time slot receiver. That suggests to me that you think D. Inman will rise up to be the #1 or #2 WR, forcing K. Allen to shift to the slot. However, S, Johnson is a highly productive receiver out of the slot, and is quicker in the initial separation, so he would be my normal slot guy. Actually, I would not be surprised to see D. Inman, K. Allen and S. Johnson as the starting trio, with M. Floyd working as Inman’s relief and in any 4 WR sets.

    I really only see J. Jones as a returner and back-up WR unless he really tears it up at camp – but I don’t think he can beat out M. Floyd, D. Inman, K. Allen, or S. Johnson. There is still a lot of argument for a speed merchant WR, but in reality if we can fix the running game I think we have receivers we can win with.

  • anthony pugliese says:

    I think iman will be a sleeper because the little I saw him last year he always went after the ball also I saw some of Charlie joiner in him

  • Cheryl White
    Cheryl White says:

    Thanks for responding! I think I can address both of you in this way: while not stating what my preference would be, there would be great upside in mixing things up on offense this year. I can see Floyd still being utilized on the outside with KA opposite. And I also hope that Inman gets more reps because he was pretty good in place of Allen the last two games. Johnson and Jones help round out the WR corps. Personally, I’d like to see Tom Telesco go after a wide receiver who can burn up yards after the catch because the Chargers really need that. Thanks again!

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