NFL Draft: Carefully Analyzing Keenan Allen's Abrupt Collapse

USA TODAY Sports

The CGB writers sit down to discuss what caused Keenan Allen to drop to the third round in this roundtable. Should Keenan have stayed another year or was this the right decision?

TwistNHook: Keenan Allen was projected to be a late 1st rounder or early 2nd rounder by many prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. He went 76th over, which meant he went in the 3rd round. Note that Bryan Anger went 70th overall when he was drafted! Do you think that Keenan Allen should have stayed another year or is hindsight 20/20?

Berkelium97: Keenan could have benefited from being fully healthy, participating in the Combine, and running a 40-yard dash on a 100% healthy knee. Had he known he still would not be fully healthy by May, he should have reconsidered. Although he could not have anticipated that recovering from a PCL injury would take so long nor that he would have aggravated the knee just before the Combine.

Did he need another year to prove he's an elite talent? Absolutely not. He has demonstrated that he is a top-level receiver. We already know he is a solid route-runner who will catch nearly anything thrown in his direction. He has the agility and physicality to make the first defender miss or break his tackle. He's also a big, big receiver who is a nightmare for smaller corners to defend. There's little he can do to demonstrate he is better in 2014 than we thought he was in 2013.

JahvidKnowsBest: I think the case of Keenan Allen is an unfortunate one. It is both a blessing and a curse to be a premier college player. If you really are the real deal, you will likely end up starting or seeing significant playing time as a true freshmen. Keenan started as a freshmen, Marcus Lattimore did, Matt Barkley did. I really think it's very difficult--no matter how good a player is--to have a steady increase in production over (at least) 3 seasons of starting. Teams start to key on you, and being the prime target for opposing defenses, this also means you're much more liable to get injured. We've seen this situation play out a countless amount of times. Jack Locker, Lattimore, Barkley. Ideally, as a player you want to have one, maybe 2 break out seasons, then go to the NFL. If Keenan was able to leave last year, he would have been a top 15 pick. Because of the 3 year eligibility rule though, he had to stay for a junior season. He was identified as the Bears only threat, and thus saw his numbers drop significantly from previous seasons. He was also thrust into game situations and roles he probably shouldn't have been, i.e. the Utah game.

All in all, I think he'll still have a strong NFL career; I really do believe he was the best overall receiver prospect this year.

Ohio Bear: I understand completely why Keenan left early for the NFL Draft. If the best information available at the time he declared had him as a late first round pick, I don't begrudge him for declaring himself draft-eligible. But especially with hindsight being 20/20, I think that it would have been a good decision to come back for his senior year. With Sonny Dykes' Bear Raid offense, Allen could have really put up some big numbers and shown that he could adapt to a new offense. Sure, Allen would have been taking a gamble that a first-year starting QB (Klindergoff!) would have done well enough to allow him to shine. But with all due respect to Allen's brother (Zach Maynard), Klindergoff stood to be an improvement.

If Allen put up the year I would have expected him to in the Bear Raid, his draft stock might have been better next year. Not to mention there wouldn't have been knee questions.

TheScientist019: This is tricky because there's no telling why exactly Keenan fell. NFL coaches are never going to sit there and detail why exactly they passed on any given player. So I guess Twist wants us to delve into the murky, speculative reasons. Time to throw all that editorial integrity out the window!

It's possible NFL teams weren't impressed with his production. It's possible they weren't impressed with his 40-time. It might even be related to things we aren't privy to, like the infamous red-flagged drug test or the rumors of a bad combine interview. And for some of those possible causes, another year at Cal wouldn't even directly address the issue.

With all that speculation, I think it's meaningless to say a year in the Dykes offense would have helped his draft stock. Maybe defenses would continue to key in on him and leave him with an underwhelming-by-Keenan-standards season. Maybe he wouldn't click with the offense or quarterback. Maybe he would get injured and miss out on most of the season. Maybe he'd rediscover his childhood love for the tambourine and quit the team with Maurice Harris to travel the country as the Percussion Cousins.

There are just too many questions to say with certainty that another year at Cal would have helped Keenan. Leading up to the draft (and certainly by mid-January, the deadline to declare), there was no reason to believe Allen wasn't going to be a first-round pick. Hindsight's 20/20, so all Keenan can do is train hard and make all the teams, even the Chargers, regret making him wait so long.


blueandgold15: I'm pretty much with TheScientist on this one. Keenan was a first round talent - and another year would have done very little to change that, in my opinion. How many more catches, yards and touchdowns do you need to know that he's a special talent and ideal possession receiver? Probably not many, right? At some point, you have to know what he is as a commodity, and short of suddenly shaving .2 off his 40 time, there was little else to gain by a senior season. He made the right choice in leaving; it was just extremely unfortunate that his knee never fully recovered [TEDFORD....]

I've heard all the rumors about him interviewing poorly, the drug test, and all that stuff - but like the Scientist said, no one could've seen it coming. That's his personal responsibility, and he's pretty responsible for all that - as well as the corresponding drop in value.

LeonPowe: There's zero reason for KA21 to stay or to have stayed. Going into the draft he was a first round pick - and with better injury luck, interviews and no fishy red flags he would've stayed that way. No reason to think another year in school would be a difference maker.

Also the earlier you get started on earning your nfl pension and your second nfl paycheck, the better. He needs to start that clock as soon as possible.

unclesam22: Agreed with what everyone has said above. Hindsight is definitely 20/20 and as much as I'd love to see KA21 put up some gaudy numbers in the Bear Raid offense, who is to say that doesn't hurt his draft stock as now he's just a product of the system and not an incredible talent (which we all know he is). So the incredibly bad timing of the PCL injury, and then whatever else happened to torpedo his draft stock all combined to make him a 3rd round draft pick, but either way, the Chargers got an absolute STEAL in the 3rd round and I think that coming back for another year would not have done anything for him. KA21 has nothing left to prove in the college game, so might as well move on and start cashing those paychecks.

HydroTech: I think it was the right decision for Keenan Allen to go pro early. This year's class of WRs was really weak. It was weak enough where Keenan, who was probably a second round talent on any other year (due to his lack of elite speed), was now being considered a first round pick. And all prior to the draft, we were hearing how he was likely a late first round pick. But then Keenan ran really really poor 40 times, and it was rumored that he failed a drug test. Those two factors are what led to his fall to the third round. Had Keenan been healthy and ran better 40 times (perhaps somewhere in the 4.5 range), and not been suspected of drug use, then I think he would have likely gone in the second round of the draft. There was really no point for Keenan to come back for his senior year because he had nothing left to prove. Everyone knew he was a great WR who just lacked elite speed. At the most, by coming back for his senior season he could have put up big number to boost his draft stock, but that result is never a guarantee -- especially considering Cal has a new coach, new offense, new QB, and Keenan has had injury issues. Keenan made the right decision by going pro early.


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