Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
September 8, 2012; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen (21) celebrates after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. The California Golden Bears defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 50-31. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
What He Does Well: Allen Is a big bodied WR with excellent hands and route running ability. Those are his primary assets as a player. He stands 6′ 2″ 210 lbs and he plays a bit bigger than that. He is extremely tough over the middle and would be a natural fit in Anquan Boldins old slot role. Allen is more than just a slot receiver though. Allen can be moved around anywhere on the offense to exploit mismatches. He is extremely gifted at gaining separation by using his quickness and burst. The best route runner in the draft. Allen is a prototype possession receiver, He catches everything thrown his way, has excellent short space quickness and gains separation with ease. Allen suffered from poor QB play in college which limited his production, but it was plain to see when watching him that he has future NFL star written all over him. Allen was at his best in college on third down. He shreds zone coverage with excellent instincts to find soft areas in coverage. Allen is also an excelent jumper, he will outjump almost any corner to go up and get a ball. I still have Allen rated as the top WR in this class.
Where He Needs improvement: Allen is an extremely quick player, but he isn’t an extremely fast player. He will never be the type of player that can take control of a game using the vertical passing game. Allen is strictly a possession guy who might be able to pull in a few long jump balls. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is something you have to know before you draft him. Allen also has some lingering knee issues. If he can prove tomorrow that his knee is near 100%, there is no chance the Ravens will land him. If however he looks sluggish, there is a very good chance the Ravens could have a steal on their hands.
How He Fits in Baltimore: Allen would start day one in the slot. He would take over Boldins old role and within a year he would likely be an improvement over what Boldin brought to the table thanks in large part to his speed, which while not great, is way better than what Boldin has at this point in his career.
Conclusion: Allen is my top target for the Ravens. They have been showing a ton of interest in mid round talents, but I believe that this is a smokescreen to mask their interest in a WR in round 1 or 2, I believe Allen is that player. Allen has top 10 talent and would be drafted way out of the Ravens range if it weren’t for his knee injury. as it is, the Ravens would still likely have to leapfrog the Patriots or Texans to go get him. The Colts and Vikings could both be looking for more picks so they would make sense as trade partners.