Keenan Allen has been a bit of a mystery guest so far this draft season. Everyone knows about his impressive size and polished skills. He displayed all his attributes during a distinguished career at Cal. But there are still so many question marks. How is his knee doing after a season-ending injury? How does his straight-line speed stack up against the other receivers in this field? Where will his draft stock finally settle?
Tuesday was supposed to be the day those questions got answered. Allen, who declined to work out at the combine or Cal pro day, finally ran for scouts. The Vikings reportedly had one of the biggest contingents at the work out. The main event was the 40 yard dash. This was Allen’s first crack at the 40 since the knee injury. And how did he fare?
Well, it wasn’t so hot. I’ve yet to see an “official” time, but Mike Mayock was there – yes, he is literally everywhere – and timed Allen’s two runs at 4.71 and 4.75. Obviously that is not speed burner territory. Of course Allen was never considered a fast straight-line runner. But even compared to some of the other non-burners in this draft, that’s kind of slow. As a means of comparison, consider some 40 times at the combine. DeAndre Hopkins, who isn’t considered fast either, posted a 4.57. Robert Woods ran a 4.51 and he has bad ankles allegedly. Terrance Williams ran 4.52. Those guys have all been talked about in the late first. And Allen is considerably slower than all of them.
But it wasn’t all bad for Allen. He ran routes next and despite some shaky throws from his coach Ricky Proehl he really impressed the scouts. His route running is as crisp and polished as everyone thought. The other good news came from Dr. James Andrews who confirmed that Allen’s knee is 100% after surgery. Andrews added that Allen’s knee muscles are probably only at 75% so we should probably factor that in when we look at the slowish 40 times.
Here’s the bottom line. We don’t know how each individual team will factor the slow times into their thinking. It’s true Allen never had a reputation as a burner. So the pro day was really a case of “he is what we thought he was.” Great overall skills, not really fast. The problem is, there are some other polished, skilled receivers in this draft and they posted better 40 times and they don’t have physical issues hanging over their heads. And that’s the real issue for Allen. If there were no Hopkins, Woods or Williams in this draft the 40 times might not matter. But he’s trying to separate himself from those guys. He’s trying to give teams a reason to draft him over them. And I’m not sure he accomplished that today. In fact, he may have given some teams a good solid tangible reason to drop him on their board. This guy could be no better than second round now.
And that might actually be good news for the Vikings. If they could somehow score a couple defensive starters in the first and still take Keenan Allen in the second? Rick Spielman might get a statue.