Keenan Allen’s health, not his 40 times, is what matters right now
Plenty of NFL teams have been keeping a curious eye on Keenan Allen during the pre-draft process, as the Cal receiver attempted to prove that last year’s knee injury is a thing of the past.
Allen was unable to work out at the NFL’s scouting combine back in February, putting a lot of pressure on his Pro Day Tuesday. The results? Mixed:
Pro day times for Keenan Allen. I’m sure there will be variance RT @james_dator: Mayock timed Allen at 4.71 and 4.75
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) April 9, 2013
RT @james_dator: Dr. Andrews says Keenan Allen’s knee is at 100% his surrounding muscles are at 75%… Per trainers
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) April 9, 2013
It’s actually the latter update that may be of more importance here.
Allen’s appeal for NFL teams starts with his precise route-running and ability to line up at any receiver spot. Speed has not and likely never will be a huge selling point for him.
The health of his knee, however, will be first and foremost in teams’ minds at the draft. Allen missed the final three games of Cal’s 2012 season with a PCL injury and has been unexpectedly slow in bouncing back — he initially was supposed to participate in all of the receiver drills, including the 40, at the combine.
A month and a half later, he’s clearly closer to being 100 percent. But the extended healing process required could be a turnoff for a few teams.
At the very least Allen, once considered alongside Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin as this draft’s top receivers, could wind up dropping deep into Round 1 or even to Round 2. He’d be a steal there for a receiver-needy team, assuming he’s ready to play at the start of 2013 — Allen made 98 catches in 2011 and had 61 more before his injury in 2012.
Any team interested in Allen still can bring him in for a private workout, at which he could be asked to run through drills again. How well he performs there and, more importantly, if he’s able to take part in all the required activities, will finalize his draft standing.
Getting on the field in front of scouts was an important step forward for Allen, even if his 40 times left a little to be desired.