San Diego Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen is making Chargers fans forget about the fact that he once wore an Oakland Raiders cap (just because you went to college in the Bay Area, doesn’t mean you can wear the hat of your NFL team’s bitter rival without some sort of outcry), because he has been exceptional ever since he caught five passes for 80 yards in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, Allen has proven that he was indeed the best wide receiver in this draft (screw the speed concerns, who runs fast with a significant knee injury?) and did not deserve to fall past the first round. His lowest yardage output since Week 4 is 67, and he should have a big game this week against the Washington Redskins.
Allen’s terrific play has definitely earned him some admiration in the locker room, because it isn’t often that a rookie receiver picked outside of the first round establishes himself as the top target for a high-level quarterback. But Philip Rivers could have a true No. 1 wide receiver soon if Allen keeps it up, and he knows that Allen “can be even better.”
Chargers legendary tight end Antonio Gates has been the team’s most productive pass-catcher this season and knows a thing or two about proving teams wrong at draft time. He’s one of the most decorated undrafted free agents in NFL history and basically threw down the speed concerns at the beginning of the quote below.
“I knew he was good, but I’ve never seen this. I didn’t think it would evolve this fast. He is making plays in the game, and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ …
“You don’t really expect it. They talk about his speed and this and that. The boy can play football, and he can get open. All that stuff about speed. If you can play and get open, that’s what wins games for you. That’s what makes plays for you. You can get a dog to run and jump. You know what I mean? That’s what this league has underestimated.”
What an amazing statement from Gates, and it’s one that rings extremely true. If you can run routes as good as Allen and get open as well as he does, it doesn’t matter what your forty time is. Teams unwisely tossed out his incredible college tape in favor of cache words like “upside” (Cordarrelle Patterson) and the overrated 40 time (Tavon Austin) and just allowed Allen to fall into the third round despite his innate ability to play the game. He’s an excellent wide receiver with better speed than you think, and he’s proving a lot of teams wrong right now; the future is in his hands.