Putting points on the board is what today’s NFL is all about, and in order to accomplish that, team’s must have dynamic playmakers at the wide receiver position. The St. Louis Rams lost two of their three most productive pass catchers this offseason via free agency so it should come as no surprise that the team will be actively searching for replacements. There really isn’t a wealth of talent at the receiver position in this year’s draft even though it is deep in terms of capable producers. If the Rams really want to find an impact guy early on, here’s a name that will make it happen.
Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver
If it’s production you want, Allen is your man in this year’s draft class. His long, lean frame is more than capable of getting loose at the line of scrimmage from press coverage and his speed allows him to separate from cornerbacks with ease. Awareness and intelligence are certainly two of Allen’s best qualities as he uses his body to create space and position himself better to make the catch. Whether it is climbing the ladder to get a jump ball or getting low over the middle to catch a clutch one on third down, Allen is very versatile and comes through when called upon. For a college receiver, his route running is definitely on the fast track to becoming elite at the next level.
He’s very average in a lot of areas. While that shouldn’t be seen as a negative, it often times is by scouts looking for the next explosive playmaker. Even though he is a solid route runner, he has yet to realize his full potential due to poor quarterbacking while in school. His speed isn’t overwhelming and his burst really isn’t there which brings up the question of whether or not he will be able to create separation at the next level. As a receiver, the ball does tend to get into his body too often as he doesn’t make his hands meet the catch before it’s already on him.
WHY DOES HE FIT?
For a team like the Rams that just lost Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson this offseason, Allen makes a lot of sense. The depth chart has a speedster in Chris Givens and Brian Quick is the developmental red zone threat. Allen would provide the Rams with that underneath target that can be super clutch on third and medium to move the chains and keep drives alive. He has all of the tools to be successful from day one, but the talent ceiling on his development is the one reason for hesitation.
If the team fails to address the receiver position early in round one and Tavon Austin is gone by the time the 22nd pick rolls around, Allen is definitely an option. Don’t expect the Rams to force it though. Especially not with their current situation of developing young receivers in the upcoming season.