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Keenan Allen Player Profile

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Keenan Allen with the 76th pick of the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. A standout wide receiver from the University of California, Berkeley, Allen was a lock for a top-10 or 15 pick going into his junior year. However, a knee injury in his junior year impacted his production and caused his draft stock to decrease. Even so, many scouts still projected him to be at least a first-round pick.

And yet, he didn’t go in the first round. As mentioned earlier, a player as talented as Allen managed to slip all the way into the third round, and right into the Chargers’ hands. Thankfully for the Chargers, those injury concerns seemed to be short-lived. Since being drafted by the Chargers, Allen has racked up 730 receptions for 8,535 yards and 48 touchdowns. Through 8 seasons, not including his 2016 season that ended in injury after a single game, those numbers are impressive. But what makes Allen so good? What are his strengths and weaknesses? This is the Keenan Allen player profile.

Strengths

Elite Route Running

Keenan Allen making an athletic catch


Keenan Allen uses his insane athleticism and body control to make NFL defenders look like college players. (Chargers)

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about Keenan Allen is his route-running skills. Keenan Allen has phenomenal body control, allowing him to make sharp cuts no matter what position his body is. Along with his body control, Allen has elite burst speed and football I.Q. to makes not just sharp cuts, but the right sharp cuts. Sometimes, he would even use that threat of his sharp cuts to fake out defenders with hesitations, or ‘hesi’ moves.

Allen’s route running is among the best in the NFL. As it stands, there are only 2 other receivers that have route-running skills either on or above Allen’s level: the Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs and the Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams. It must be nice for head coach Brandon Staley to have such a talented receiver on the roster for new star quarterback Justin Herbert.

Elite YAC Machine

The same things that make Allen such a dangerous route runner also apply to his skills after he makes the catch. His elite athleticism and smart decision-making skills make him a dangerous YAC threat to opposing defenses. YAC, which stands for ‘yards after catch’, is a good measurement for determining how well a receiver can handle actually running with the ball. And Allen is quite talented in this regard. When he makes a reception, he truly looks like he could’ve been a running back out there.

Weaknesses

Terrible Hands

Keenan ALlen dropping a pass
Keenan Allen stuggled with holding onto the ball in 2021. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Both his route running and YAC abilities are truly elite, as mentioned earlier. However, those two things don’t matter very much if he struggles to actually get the ball in his hands. And struggle Allen does.

Allen boasts one of the most elite skillsets in the NFL, but he needs to actually catch passes. Among all active receivers, Allen was tied for the most dropped passes in the 2021 season, along with the Cincinnati Bengals’ Jamarr Chase, at 9. The issue he has is that he doesn’t necessarily catch the ball with his hands, but rather with his chest. This has been an issue of his since his college days at Cal-Berkeley, so it would be a difficult ask for him to improve his catching ability at this point. However, as he continues to build chemistry with Justin Herbert, perhaps this concern will simply dissipate.

Lack of Top-End Speed

While Allen does have exceptional burst speed, especially around the line of scrimmage, one thing that is lacking from his game is exceptional top speed. While there are players like Tyreek Hill, who is rightfully nicknamed “Cheetah” for his top-end speed, in the same division, Allen simply does not have that quality. This lack of top-end speed removes him as a threat in deep passes.

The Chargers, thankfully, have found a way around this issue through shorter routes that exemplify his athleticism. However, having top-end speed would really open up the playbook for offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. After all, imagine what Herbert could do with that rocket arm in a four verticals concept.

Summary

Even with his lack of top-end speed and inconsistent hands, Allen brings too much to the table for the Chargers offense to let him walk. That’s why the Chargers signed Allen to a 4-year, 80.1 million-dollar contract in 2020, locking him down to 2024. With more time spent with Herbert, Allen will become even more of a threat to opposing defenses. This has been the Keenan Allen player profile.




3 comments

Keenan Allen Holds This Impeccable Record Over Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins and Steffon Diggs; Is the Chargers WR Underrated? - EssentiallySports February 28, 2022 at 6:31 am

[…] is unlikely to happen anytime soon, given the Chargers signed Keenan to a four-year, $80.1 million contract in 2020, tying him to the team until […]

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Keenan Allen Holds This Impeccable Record Over Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins and Steffon Diggs; Is the Chargers WR Underrated? - Future Tech Trends February 28, 2022 at 6:39 am

[…] is unlikely to happen anytime soon, given the Chargers signed Keenan to a four-year, $80.1 million contract in 2020, tying him to the team until […]

Reply
Keenan Allen Holds This Impeccable Record Over Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins and Steffon Diggs; Is the Chargers WR Underrated? February 28, 2022 at 6:42 am

[…] is unlikely to happen anytime soon, given the Chargers signed Keenan to a four-year, $80.1 million contract in 2020, tying him to the team until […]

Reply

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