Chargers’ Keenan Allen named NFL’s second-best slot receiver

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Despite proving himself on the field and having the stats to back it up, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen still doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves to this day.

In the eyes of Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar, however, Allen is regarded as the second-best slot receiver in this league, only behind Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill.

Below, Farrar justifies Allen’s ranking with a brief explanation and numbers from this past season.

Allen has been one of the NFL’s more underrated receivers since the Chargers selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Cal. Allen doesn’t blow you away with explosive plays — he doesn’t really have the straight-line speed for that — but when it comes to understanding and exploiting coverages from anywhere on the field, there are few better.

In 2020, Allen caught 43 of 60 slot targets for 441 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers put him behind other slot receivers on this list, but the tape really doesn’t. When a defensive back doesn’t have the advantage of the boundary to deal with Allen’s route trickiness, the task becomes exponentially more difficult.

Early on in his professional career, Allen was dinged by injuries. However, he has managed to stay healthy over the course of the past four seasons, averaging 100 receptions and over 1,000 receiving yards in that timespan en route to four Pro Bowl appearances.

This upcoming season, despite the change in offensive system, Allen, who’s established himself as one of the league’s most efficient route-runners, should do what he does best by getting open consistently to leave a wide-open target for quarterback Justin Herbert.

I’m predicting Allen to finish the year with 157 targets, 106 receptions, 1,273 yards and eight touchdowns.