Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen was faced with a difficult decision over whether or not to take part in the workout portion of the NFL Scouting Combine, and like many Berkeley students, the star pass-catcher is making smart decisions with his future.
According to NFL.com, Allen will skip all workouts at the combine in order to rest his sprained knee. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews will evaluate the injury, and Allen will show off his physical skills for NFL scouts at the Cal pro day in early April.
If the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper is accurate, Allen will be a late first-round pick. Kiper currently has him going to the St. Louis Rams with the 22nd pick.
At 6’3” and 206 pounds, Allen’s measurables will have several NFL teams excited. With 151 combined catches for 2,080 yards and 12 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons, he has also proved to be extremely productive.
But scouts will want to ensure that he has the explosiveness and top-end speed to beat professional defensive backs.
In Allen’s current position, the combine can do him significantly more harm than good. In the 40-yard dash, one tenth of a second can ultimately decide whether or not he is drafted in the first round.
A single twinge of pain at any point during the drill could be the difference between an impressive time and a disappointing one. Allen should not subject himself to this unless he is completely healthy.
By all appearances, he recognizes this. Not only is he skipping the workouts, but he’s getting evaluated by the best in the business when it comes to knee injuries.
Instead of rushing back, risking injury and possibly doing irreparable damage to his draft stock, Allen is staying patient and waiting for the right opportunity to make his mark of the pre-draft process.
Every step a prospect takes from the day the college football season ends to the moment his name is called is extremely important. Planning and preparation are vital, and Allen is clearly getting wise advice and following it.
Allen’s time to shine in front of scouts will come in another month. For now, getting healthy is the only concern, and he has shown to have his priorities in order.
If the Cal wideout makes as many smart moves during his NFL career as he has during the lead up to the draft, he will have a long and productive tenure playing on Sundays.