NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Cal WR Keenan Allen
|03.26.13 at 8:27 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 206 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, 2011 All-Pac-12 first team, 2010 All-Pac-10 second team (all-purpose player), Cal record-holder for career receptions (205)
What he brings: Allen might not be the perfect prospect, but for Patriots fans that have been clamoring for Bill Belichick to go after a true No. 1 wideout in the first round of the draft, he might be the best they’re going to get.
After not working out at the combine or at his pro day due to lingering knee and hamstring concerns, the former consensus best receiver in the 2013 draft has seen his stock fall back into the rest of the pack while the likes of Tavon Austin wow the scouts.
Allen’s proponents shouldn’t worry too much, though. The Cal product is big, is fast-ish, can go up the get the ball and has plenty of college tape to show that he looks good doing it, too. That last part is particularly impressive considering his college quarterback (and half-brother) Zach Maynard was mediocre at best last season. Throughout his career, Allen has shown an ability to work the field vertically and horizontally, showing a great downfield burst in addition to strong route-running skills and short-area quickness.
Prior to the 2012 season, when he only caught 61 balls for 737 yards, Allen tore up the Pac-12 as a sophomore, pulling in 98 receptions for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns. That standout 2011 season should be used as the more accurate barometer of where Allen stands as a receiver, since he’ll actually be playing with a professional-level quarterback once he gets drafted. Unless he goes to the Jets, that is.
Current player comparisons for Allen include Packers receiver Jordy Nelson and Cowboys head case Dez Bryant, for his above-average power at the receiver position while still maintaining solid downfield speed. Allen shows great body control, athleticism and toughness when he goes after the ball and is dangerous after the catch, with the athleticism to get moving in the open field as well as the strength to bust through defenders in the secondary.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1
Notes: The one glaring red flag with Allen is the fact that no one’s seen him play football or work out at full capacity since an October knee injury ended his final season at Cal early. At his pro day on March 14, Allen still was unable to perform in the 40-yard dash or run route for scouts.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have been known to go after ‘damaged goods’ when it comes to players with injury concerns, with results ranging from frustrating misses (Ras-I Dowling) to home runs (Rob Gronkowski). Even with the risk, the Pats likely would jump at the chance to grab what may be the best receiver in the draft class this late into the first round.
Until he runs an official 40 time during his workouts, Allen’s straight-line speed will remain a ‘question mark’ or ‘concern’ for many outlets, but likely won’t be a issue for scouts. Unless one of the premiere deep threats in college football ends up running something northward of a 4.70 in the 40-yard dash, teams will have a decent enough knowledge of what caliber of player they are working out: a talented one.
Related articles: The Daily Californian: Keenan Allen: No Reservations
Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Allen’s performances in 2012 against Ohio State and USC.