San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) makes runs the ball after catching a pass in the final seconds of the second quarter of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan Allen praised by Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates

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.

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Tags: Antonio Gates Keenan Allen Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers

  • Julien Bélair

    I do beleive Allen will emerge as a superstar in the NFL. He reminds me of Fitzgerald

    • Joe Soriano

      He does have that quality to him, and he earned plenty of comparisons to Reggie Wayne before the draft. Allen’s fall was the result of, quite frankly, very exaggerated “concerns” that should have only caused him to slip into the end of the first. He was the best WR in the draft class, and that’s something I harped on at the time. I covered the New England Patriots and made sure to reiterate this point, “Drafting Allen would be the dream scenario.”

      • Julien Bélair

        Yes, I’m so glad we snatched him. He kinda save our season right now with our WRs injuries and he will be a true #1 receiver next season

  • Peter Thompson

    Great article! I love what he brings to the team, and how he has worn the pants since DX and M80 went down. I hope he finally puts V-Jax in our rearview mirror.

    • Joe Soriano

      Thanks for dropping by, Peter. Allen is well on his way to making Chargers fans forget about Jackson, and his consistency is one advantage on Jackson that makes up for the fact that he isn’t as much of a freakish athlete as Jackson. I hate how people talk down on Allen’s speed and athleticism, because he is plenty athletic. The guy bailed out his half-bro at QB plenty of times in his career at Cal, and it’s amazing that Allen was able to put up big numbers despite having one of the conference’s most inconsistent QBs at the helm. I don’t think I’ve seen a more polished route-runner in recent memory enter the draft, to be honest with you.

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