Keenan Allen (6′ 3″, 210 lbs.) out of the University of California-Berkley is not one of the more known wide receivers in this year’s draft, but he is one of, if not the, best receivers. He suffered from the fact that Cal was well, average. Had he gone to, say Alabama, we all would know much more about him and he would probably be in competition for a top 5 draft slot. Allen was a five star recruit coming out of high school (Northern Guilford, Greensboro, NC) as a safety, but after committing to Cal, Jeff Tedford converted Allen into one of the nation’s top wide receivers during his three years at the school. Sadly, Tedford was fired after Cal finished the 2012 season 3-9 (2-7 in the Pac-12), and as many juniors do when their head coach gets fired, Allen declared for the NFL Draft instead of staying at Cal for his senior season.
Here are Allen’s stats from Cal:
Career Receiving: 205 receptions, 2570 yards, 17 touchdowns
2012 Receiving: 61 catches, 737 yards, 6 touchdowns in 9 games (missed final 3 games due to PCL tear in left knee)
Now, I will evaluate Allen on these criteria: Size, Speed/Quickness, Get-Off, Route Running, Hands, Body Control, Catching in Traffic, Yards after the Catch, and Blocking Skills.
Allen is 6’ 3” and 210 lbs. That is great size for a receiver. It will allow him to get above corners and safeties in the NFL and be seen by his quarterback. I love his size and I’m sure NFL teams do too. (Good height to win jump balls downfield) 9.0/10.0
Allen runs a 4.53 40, and his feet sure look damn quick to me. I don’t see Allen being used a primary deep threat in the NFL, he’s just an inch or two too short for that, but his speed can get him behind coverage and his quickness will allow him to juke defenders right out of their shoes. He can also make very sharp cuts, and get back to full speed very quickly. This is a great asset that Allen needs to use to his advantage. Allen is a very agile and physical ball carrier when he has the ball and he also has great hip flexibility because he has the ability to get low in his routes and explode out of his breaks. 9.0/10.0
Keenan Allen has a very strong get-off. On pretty much every play where he was lined up outside, he would have a very quick get off and get to top speed almost immediately. He also throws moves to shake defenders and get open in the middle of the field. 8.5/10.0
Allen is a very solid route runner. I can’t really see in my head a route that he doesn’t really run well. His best routes are slants, cross routes, speed outs, and vertical “go” routes. One of the primer route runners in the nation. 9.0/10.0
Strong hands. He didn’t really get to show them in college, but I believe that his hands compare well with just about any receiver in the country. He attacks the ball with his hands and rarely catches the ball with his body. All in all, great hands. 8.5/10.0
Allen has decent body control. I saw good examples of this in his tape and bad examples. First off, bad examples. There were a few plays that I saw where Allen was running down the sideline and just wouldn’t think where his body was in relation to the sideline, and would step out of bounds. One of these even cost Cal a touchdown. And as for good examples, there was a play (in the Ohio St./USC video) when Allen had to jump in the air along the sideline and grab a pass and had the body control to get a foot inbounds before going out. If he can improve on this, then Allen will have a better chance at becoming a great receiver in the NFL. 8.25/10.00
CATCHING IN TRAFFIC:
Not the strongest at catching in traffic, but that has in part to do with his quarterback in college. Many of the passes thrown to Allen at Cal were too low, too high, too far in front of him, or too far behind him so he never had the chance to catch many of them. I believe that thanks to his hands, Allen can catch just about any ball, but he just wasn’t given the opportunity in college to do so. 8.5/10.0
YARDS AFTER THE CATCH:
Allen can cut on a dime and juke just about any defender, so this is one of his better areas. He stretches the field north-south, which I love, and doesn’t go down easily. He tries to get every possible yard and he is very fast, which helps him out a ton here. 8.75/10.00
I did not see much of Allen blocking. But the little bit I did see is described perfectly by NFL.com’s draft profile of Allen. It says Allen “does not utilize his size or length as a run blocker,” and that he “does not execute cut blocks and at times fails to hit a target.” Now don’t get me wrong. Allen did have some good blocks, but this is probably the area that he needs to work on the most going forward. If he can become an elite blocker, then there is no limit to what he can accomplish. 8.0/10.0
Overall, from me Keenan Allen receives an 8.61/10.00. I believe that Allen is the best receiver available in this year’s draft. It’s hard to tell that from his tape, but many of the times that Allen looked bad on tape, it was due to a poorly thrown ball from his quarterback, and half-brother, Zach Maynard. I think that if Allen had had a better QB throwing to him that he would have much more hype going into this year’s draft. But I just think that all of his intangibles will add up to him being a great receiver in the NFL that whatever team that drafts him will be lucky to have. Now who will be that lucky team? Due to the PCL tear that Allen suffered in week 9 against Utah, he will not go as high as he should. I believe that Allen has fully recovered, but he is being cautious with is and skipping the NFL Combine this weekend, which will hurt his draft stock. Because of that, Cordarrelle Patterson will probably be the first receiver off the board, not Allen. I really can see Allen getting drafted by the Packers and joining fellow Golden Bear Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. When I was watching his tape, Allen reminded me a lot of Greg Jennings, and since Jennings is inching closer to retirement and he might leave Green Bay in free agency, it wouldn’t be a bad move for the Pack to grab Allen at a premium, and it is definitely something I see them doing.
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Next, I will be profiling Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame!