Over-thinking is commonplace when it comes to the NFL Draft. Teams have months with no actual football action taking place and hour after endless hour to evaluate film on prospects coming into the league. There’s bound to be some second-guessing that takes place, and many times those extra hours of nitpicking wind up being more of a hindrance than a benefit.
No where was that more evident in the 2013 version of the draft than with wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Many felt the former California Golden Bear was a first rounder coming into the collegiate season last year, but injuries and inconsistent quarterback play made his numbers suffer the consequences. This obviously shouldn’t detract from his individual talent, but draft evaluations can sometimes be unpredictable.
At the end of the day, the San Diego Chargers would up with Allen at the No. 76 overall selection in the third round of the draft. This was quite the tumble for a player once thought to be one of the best 32 coming out in last year’s class, but the Bolts certainly weren’t complaining. General manager Tom Telesco was lauded for his epic draft steals this past April, and the on-field product has proven that praise to have been justified.
What makes a receiver successful is generating a rapport with the quarterback, and it was evident this past week that Allen and Philip Rivers have quite the familiarity working. The receiver’s route-running has always been one of his best attributes, and that gets you on a quarterback’s good side in a hurry if he knows where you will be and when you will be there.
Clearly Rivers has been starving for a top wideout since Vincent Jackson left via free agency following the 2011 season, and the failed Robert Meachem experiment along with injuries to both Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd have opened the door for Allen to seize that opportunity. His breakout performance in Week 6 with nine catches for 107 yards, including a picturesque 22-yard touchdown strike, is just a sign of things to come for him in San Diego.
There’s no doubt Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal both still have vital roles to play on the Chargers’ offense, but Allen could easily be Rivers’ No. 1 target sooner rather than later. A reliable receiver is a quarterback’s best friend, and it seems clear reliability is near the top of Allen’s list of attributes. Getting a still 21-year old No. 1 wide receiver in the third round of the draft is quite a steal; rest assured the best is yet to come from this blossoming Bolt pass catcher.