SAN DIEGO – In this ESPN Insider piece, Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. gives San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco credit for selecting solid contributors at the top of this year’s draft in right tackle D.J. Fluker in the first round, and middle linebacker Manti Te'o in the second round.
However, Weidl says Telesco’s best selection in his first draft with the Chargers might have been taking receiver Keenan Allen in the third round.
Allen has performed like a first-round talent in his rookie season, leading all rookie receivers in receptions (63), receiving yards (931) and receiving touchdowns (7). Along with those numbers, Allen has created explosive plays, leading all rookie receivers with 14 catches of more than 20 yards.
Evaluating his college tape from Cal, Weidl says that while Allen did not display top-end speed, he showed that he had the ability to create separation and make plays on the ball on a consistent basis for the Bears. And he’s doing the same thing with the Chargers.
Weidl: “Breaking down Allen on a few of the coaches' copy tapes from this season, it's easy to see why he is having early success. He has a natural feel for the position with his field awareness and route running. Like he did at Cal, Allen is doing a nice job of setting up defenders out of breaks, and is especially effective on selling double moves. In addition, he has a nice understanding of spatial awareness out of his cuts in knowing where the ball is going to be thrown from veteran QB Phillip Rivers, who possesses strong anticipation as a passer.
“Finally, while he will have an occasional mental lapse which can lead to a drop here and there, overall he has shown reliable hands. Allen is adjusting well to throws outside of his frame, and has displayed good toughness, focus and strength working in traffic with contested throws.”