When the San Diego Chargers selected WR Keenan Allen in the 2013 draft, many experts believed the Bolts stole one of the top wide receiver in the third round. Future of Hall of Famer and former Charger RB LaDainian Tomilison even applauded his former team on ESPN praising Allen’s talent and potential upside.
The 6’2, 206 pound wide out lacks blazing speed but if he is healthy, Allen can get open and run solid routes. These skills are essential to have in order to be a successful NFL wide receiver. With the exception of multi-purpose players like Seattle’s Percy Harvin and the Rams Tavon Austin, most NFL teams are looking for those precision route runners and good hands to help spread the defense with the deep threat speedsters. Can Allen become that go to receiver on offense to help QB Phillip Rivers get back on track?
In the past two seasons, Rivers has relied too much on the deep ball either to Vincent Jackson or Malcolm Floyd. It is critically important he find the same success that made him one of the top five quarterbacks in the league when he threw 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2010 while playing with a depleted receiving corps. Rivers even made Seyi Ajirotutu relevant conversation for fantasy owners.
Hopefully, new Head Coach Mike McCoy will remove this dependence on the long ball from Rivers arsenal and utilize his strengths with short precision passing. McCoy’s new offensive scheme and shift from Norv Turner’s prehistoric offense will allow Allen to eventually prove himself on the football field. It will be difficult for him to see immediate playing time with Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, and Malcolm Floyd taking most of the snaps but look for him to play a significant role by Week 7. Floyd has proven year in and year out he can’t stay healthy and Alexander showed flashes of brilliance in 2012. However, he is going see more double teams and shut down cornerbacks this upcoming season. Further, Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem inconsistencies will open the door for Allen to move in as a third or fourth wide out in spread packages.
Unlike the D.J Fluker and Manti T’eo, fans should not expect too much from Allen in 2013 except progress. He has plenty of potential to eventually become a starter in 2014, but Allen will have to ensure he makes the best of his opportunities to see more playing time.