Friday, December 15, 2017

keenan allen

[Note:  Want to see a list of every player featured in our “Draft Target” segment?  Click here to visit the Offseason Tracker where there will be a list of all these players.  Check back often as there are plenty more to come!]

With Keenan Allen now reportedly planning to be absent for California’s pro day because of a lingering knee issue, I have been advised by a number of our great Twitter followers that the first-round-receiver bandwagon is now full of DeAndre Hopkins advocates.  Of course I planned on featuring Hopkins in this reoccurring segment at some point, but those Twitter conversations convinced me that tonight should be the night.

Hopkins is 6′ 1″ tall and weighs 214 pounds and displayed great speed and hands during his time at Clemson.  He ran the forty in the 4.50 to 4.57 range at both the Combine and his pro day (which was Thursday) which only confirms he has the speed it takes to be a top receiver in the NFL.  His big hands and long wingspan only add to the traits Hopkins possesses that will attract plenty of attention.

Hopkins is known as a receiver that runs very precise routes and displays solid instincts after making the catch, with the ability to make the most of every pass heading his way.  He takes good care of the football, protecting it to prevent turnovers, while also showing incredible body control which allows him to make tough catches on jump balls or near the sideline.  His presence of mind, combined with a very good vertical leap, makes him a genuine red zone threat.

Hopkins has had troubles with catching the football with his body throughout his college years, but any scout is also going to have to give him credit for improving as a hands catcher over time.  This shows that he works to improve himself and is a coachable young man.

More worrisome, to me, is that he seems to be manhandled by defensive backs too often and is rerouted too easily.  He may need to bulk up a bit in the NFL, which could cost him some speed, but he also needs to improve aspects of his fundamentals to make sure he isn’t consistently jammed at the line by bigger defensive backs.  The coachability that I mentioned earlier, however, provides hope that Hopkins could improve his technique in this area over time.

Hopkins doesn’t really have any injury history or character issues that plague him as he enters the NFL, and actually has gained quite the reputation as a leader within Clemson’s offense.  He’s the type of guy that is going to haul in that deep over-the-shoulder ball, make the occasional toe tapper on the sideline, and be a constant threat when the game is on the line.

Most seem to project Hopkins as a second round talent, like so many other receivers in this class, but the lack of red flags makes it very possible that he sneaks into the first round.  A number of teams, like the Vikings, could end up feeling very comfortable investing their top pick in Hopkins.


[NOTE FROM ADAM:  The ever-valuable website recently ran out of options, or made a big mistake somehow, and invited me to take part in their All-Bloggers Mock Draft where I was able to grab defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on behalf of the Vikings.  Whatever led them to generously include me will hopefully prove to be the beginning of a good relationship with one of the top Draft resources available.  I asked Matt Falk, Draftnik Extraordinaire  to bestow us with some knowledge.  He opted to do the ever-popular seven round mock draft that highlights some of the players he thinks the Vikings will draft.  Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out Draft Season for even more information on this year’s prospects.  Besides, Matt lives in Minnesota, so we know he must be a good guy.]

Full 7 Round Projection for the Minnesota Vikings
Matt Falk | @matt_falk

The Minnesota Vikings will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch come draft weekend. With a handful of needs Minnesota could go in a handful of directions in the early rounds. While many peg the Vikings to go either wide receiver or defensive line, never count out the wildcard of them going for flat out the best player available. Below is a full mock draft for each of the Vikings picks in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft.

The theme of this 7 round mock is simple for the Vikings. Fill some glaring needs at wide receiver and add some players on the defensive side of the ball that compete day 1 for a starting job.

While the 2013 NFL Draft might not be top heavy with superstars it is full of depth at many positions and will allow teams like the Vikings to fill some holes, not only in the early rounds, but also in the mid to late rounds.

On the offensive side of the ball it will be very surprising to watch the Vikings not grab at least 2 receivers throughout the draft weekend. Along with receiver I would be mildly surprised if they didn’t nab a quarterback even if it is in round 5 or later, not to necessarily compete, but to at least have in their back pocket for future use or even be a possible future number 2.

Defensively Minnesota needs to add some depth throughout the entire defense. I see free agency helping with this issue, but getting younger at a few positions will almost be a must. Depending on what free agency brings, we could see more than 1 linebacker and or defensive lineman go to Minnesota.

Soak up the full 7 round projection below, noting that all could change once free agency gets into full swing. For more NFL Mock Drafts and analysis hit up or follow us @matt_falk

1. Keenan Allen WR, CAL
If Keenan Allen manages to stick on the board until pick 23 it might be too tempting for the Vikings to pass on the possible number 1 receiver. Allen isn’t a burner but the type of receiver that can make big plays and move the sticks. Has the mold of an Anquan Boldin and depending on Harvin’s status, could instantly become the Vikings number 1 receiver. Allen is one of the big wildcards in the 2013 NFL Draft, he is a player that could end up going top 10, OR be a guy who ends up falling into the 20’s due to other team’s needs.

In a normal year I tend to stick with the same pick for the Vikings for at least a month or so in my mock draft, but this year seems very different.  I don’t know if it is how late the Vikings are picking, or if this is just a difficult class to properly tier, but I have now mocked four different players to the Vikings over the last two months.

Sheldon Richardson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Manti Te’o were all previous selections in my mock draft versions but today’s update brings up yet another name.

Keenan Allen.

It just so happens Allen was featured in my “Draft Target” series last night so click here to read all about him.

Click here to see how I mocked the first round in its entirety.

[Note:  Want to see a list of every player featured in our “Draft Target” segment?  Click here to visit the Offseason Tracker where there will be a list of all these players.  Check back often as there are plenty more to come!]

There is really no consensus as to which wide receiver is the best in this class, but California product Keenan Allen is at the top of most lists it seems and for good reason.

Standing at 6′ 2″ and weighing in at 215 pounds, Allen has established himself as one of the most physical and feared wide outs in football over the last three years.  Even as a freshman Allen managed to be a solid starting option at Cal and took major steps over his next two seasons, establishing himself as one of the nation’s best wide outs despite getting very little help from the quarterback position.  He even dominated against  some of college’s best competition like Stanford, USC, and Oregon in 2011.

His senior year didn’t exactly go as planned due to quarterback issues and a sprain that caused him to miss three games and the Scouting Combine.  For this reason, it will be worth keeping an eye on his April 9th pro day to see just how he is coming along with the PCL injury.

Allen’s size and strength make him a very powerful downfield option that is capable of bullying defenders and running through their tackle attempts.  He also has a knack for going across the middle and making catches, even when it might result in major contact, which is (as you have probably figured out by now) my favorite trait in a receiver.

Allen hasn’t run a pre-Draft 40 yard dash yet, but he plays with excellent speed as evidenced by all of his game tape, and certainly won’t be knocked by any NFL scouts for his speed.  The guy has elite acceleration and very adequate straightline speed that is actually a bit surprising for a guy of his size.  Don’t be surprised if he runs below a 4.5 at his pro day.

The combination of speed and strength is the type that will keep defensive coordinators awake at night.  Corners that tried to jam Allen in college were often disappointed in the results, as he is strong enough to dismiss them and fast enough to still get down the field for a big play.  However, if defensive backs play off the line of scrimmage then Allen has the ability to take a short route and elude tackles for a big play.  He is the type of guy that is capable of beating you in a variety of ways, which is exactly what the Vikings need to take their offense a step or two forwards.

If front offices let the tape speak for itself then I can’t see anyone else dethroning him as the top receiver this year.  He is a do-it-all guy that can take the top of a defense, is surprisingly efficient at picking up yards after the catch, can win jump balls, is said to have great character, and has displayed proficiency on special teams.  The injury is poorly timed for him, but if it isn’t thought to be a long term issue then this might just be the wide receiver the Vikings have needed so desperately for so many years.

The Vikings will have to invest their first rounder to get their hands on Allen, and even then he may not be there when they pick, but considering the shape of this passing game it would be somewhat of a no-brainer.

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