WR Keenan Allen is the latest prospect to garner our attention and the resulting fanbase scrutiny. He comes with those pesky red flags to deal with as well. Yet should the Panthers be concerned enough to drop him down their draft board?
Allen was the top WR on most pundit draft boards before suffering a PCL injury that ended his final college season. An additional red flag was the lack of production he registered as a senior as compared to his junior year and as compared to the other prospects with gaudy numbers. A third red flag raised up yesterday when he had a less than ideal 40 time, somewhere in the 4.6 to 4.7 range.
So are the flags on Allen a real concern? In particular should we be worried about this latest flag, the slow 40 yard time he logged yesterday? History is littered with prospects who had the so called red flags but went on to post respectable NFL seasons.
For example, just last year QB Russell Wilson seemed to have demonstrated all the tools of an NFL QB in college but he slid to the 12th pick in the 3rd round simply because of his height, a supposed red flagged 5'11". I mean, that violates the 6'3" rule right? You know how Wilson did as a rookie so no need to get into that. How many current QB needy teams do you think wish they could have a do over on their 2nd round pick last season? Everyone of them passed on Wilson in most cases simply because of his height.
Here's a more pertinent example which I discussed on CSR radio last night. This WR said to be a 2nd or 3rd pick after these red flags came up in April regarding the previously slated 1st rounder:
The new red flag comes from Nolan Nawrocki, who reports that Wright tested with 16% body fat, when most WR's are in the single digits, and he adds that the highest body fat for a WR was 14%. However, Nawrocki adds that Wright could only do 4 bench reps, when he's listed at 11, and some teams have him as a 3rd round pick on their draft boards.
The Titans ignored the red flag and selected Wright at #20 overall. So how did he do?
64 receptions for 600+ yards and 4 TDs
That's not a huge season for a 1st round WR sure but it at least shows the red flags were not factors in the players performance as many predicted they would be. In the end all that really matters is how it plays out in live action on the field and that is not something you can always measure when you not on the field.
So here is my take away from this and my opinion on Keenan Allen's 'red flags':
Red Flag #1 - Did not have elite production his senior year.
Explanation: His QB was at best an average college QB who had accuracy issues. This is supported by the fact that just yesterday at Allen's private work out they choose to have Ricky Proehl through to Allen instead of his college QB who was available to do so. That is pretty a glaring affirmation the QB had accuracy issues.
This happened to Calvin Johnson in his time at GT. If he had a decent QB he could have set records in college just as he has done in the NFL. Though his receiving stats were good they did not lead the nation or set records.
Red Flag #2 - Still recovering from a PCL injury that many think should already be healed
Explanation: These things take time but probably one of the best sports doctors of our time Dr. James Andrews has said the knee is sound. As James pointed out last night Allen did not require surgery on the knee as it was only a slight tear. Though the knee has been declared healed Allen is still getting the muscle group around the knee back into shape. I think I would trust Andrews on this even in spite of the RG3 issue, heck probably more so because of the RG3 thing.
Red Flag #3 - 40 time less than ideal at yesterday's workout
Explanation: The scouts didn't seem concerned because they know he is a 4.5 type of guy. He can run that fast when healthy and being healthy is only a matter of time. We could argue that top end speed is not all that important to WRs but I think the reality is that once healthy Allen has plenty of speed.
So there are my thoughts. It's more these reasons I also think Geno Smith will be drafted in the top 10 as teams ignore the red flags brought up by Nawrocki and others from the combine. Don't buy into these April red flags really having much of an impact on draft day.