The pass happy San Diego Chargers, led by Philip Rivers, have been one of the NFL’s best passing offenses. Most would argue that you can put any receiver out on the field and let Rivers fling the ball to anybody he wants to make the catch. But there is one receiver in particular who can not only catch the ball, but also do things most receivers on the Chargers would never imagine, Keenan Allen.
When coming out of college, Keenan Allen was noted to be the greatest receiver at the University Of California, where he started from 2010-2012. In his career at Cal, Allen caught a school record 205 passes, ran for 2,570 yards, and caught 25 touchdown passes.
Worth noting, in Allen’s sophomore season in 2011, he caught a career high with 98 receptions and 1,343 receiving yards. Unfortunately, in his 2012 junior season, Allen sprained his posterior cruciate ligament. He was not able to attend the NFL Combine that year, but attended his Pro Day at Cal University. Draft pundits described Allen as being one of the better wide receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft; however, they said he would fall in the later rounds due to his injury.
On Allen’s Pro Day, April 9 2013, he needed to show that he was first round material. When Allen stepped on the football field, he showed his amazing route running skills and acrobatic catching abilities. Scouts were in awe. When it came time for the 40 yard dash he ran a 4.71. Not his best time but was ok, due to the fact that he had his injury. He had told scouts that he was 80 percent healthy, so that led to his stock falling slightly.
With three rounds and 76 picks in, the San Diego Super Chargers selected Allen. Apparently, Chargers GM Tom Telesco, had eyes for Allen and waited for the right time to take him in the draft. The start of the 2013, Allen was not listed as a starter, but would wait patiently for his turn. Keenan Allen got his first start week two of the 2013 season against the Philadelphia Eagles and hit the ground running.
He had two back to back games, against the Raiders and the Colts, where he had 100 yards or more of receiving yards. It was a start and a sign of good things to come. Within three weeks left in the season, Allen broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s rookie reception record, having 61 catches on the year. He finished the season with 71 receptions and 1,046 reception yards, which broke John Jefferson‘s rookie record in 1978, when Jefferson had 1,001 reception yards. Allen set a Chargers record with five 100 yard games and tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions. Allen also won numerous amount of awards. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Next Rookie of the Year.
2014, Allen’s season was cut short, due to a collarbone injury suffered week 15 against the rival Denver Broncos. He did have a career high with ten receptions in one game against the Jacksonville Jaguars week four. Not as good as the 2013 season, he finished with 77 receptions, 783 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in 2014. Still productive, but not staying healthy was a bit of concern to the team.
In 2015, Allen set another reception record, this time he had 15 receptions against the Detroit Lions week 1. As the weeks went on, Allen’s numbers seemed to dwindle away. Eventually, he suffered a season ending kidney injury.
So far, in Allen’s three years for the Chargers, there have been positives and negatives. He puts up the yards, catches, and draws double teams; however, the injuries are a big concern. Multiple NFL sources say Chargers and Allen are discussing a possible four to five-year extension. With $12 million in salary cap space, the Chargers can act now to lock up the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. We will see if the Chargers can get it done.