Chargers Have a Future Star in Rookie WR Keenan Allen

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Chargers Have a Future Star in Rookie WR Keenan Allen
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After recording his third game this season with more than 100 yards receiving, it's safe to say the San Diego Chargers have a future star emerging in rookie wideout Keenan Allen.

In the overtime loss to Washington, Allen had eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. The rookie was targeted 11 times by Philip Rivers and put in a clutch performance during the Chargers' final drive in regulation.

After hauling in a touchdown pass with 4:10 remaining to pull his team within three points, Allen helped get his team in a position to set up the game-tying field goal with three catches for 53 yards. The Chargers offense didn't have an opportunity to take the field in overtime, but some might wonder what else Allen could have accomplished given the extra time.

With his latest outing behind him, the rookie has now accumulated 34 receptions for 527 yards and three touchdowns through seven games for the Bolts. Out of the three receivers who were selected in the first round of this past year's draft (Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins), just one of them has gone over 100 yards receiving (Hopkins).

Keenan Allen vs. Round 1 Receivers (Receiving Stats)
Keenan Allen 34 REC 527 YDS 3 TDs 48 TGTs
Tavon Austin 31 REC 207 YDS 2 TDs 51 TGTs
Cordarrelle Patterson 16 REC 146 YDS 0 TDs 24 TGTs
DeAndre Hopkins 28 REC 416 YDS 2 TDs 42 TGTs

ESPN

Of the seven receivers selected before Allen in the 2013 draft, neither have produced numbers quite like his. The Cal receiver was selected in the third round, mostly in part to a major knee injury which he suffered in his last collegiate season.

When the year started, Allen was going to be considered lucky if he even saw playing time this season with veterans like Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal ahead of him, but the rookie was patient. In a matter of weeks, his playing time changed dramatically.

Alexander went down with a torn ACL during the offseason, Floyd suffered a knee injury and then a severe neck injury in Week 2, and Royal has been battling a toe injury for a good part of the season. By Week 4, Allen was already fitting into an important role with the team because of injuries (you could even go so far as to say he was already the team's No. 1 receiver by then).

The game that really put Allen on the map for the Chargers was his Week 6 performance against the Indianapolis Colts in which he finished with nine catches for 107 yards and the game's only touchdown. Allen was voted rookie of the week following that game and has continued to showcase his abilities in a starting role.

As the season wears on, Allen will only get more opportunities to cement himself as this year's draft steal and likely the next star receiver in the NFL. As long as the amazing play of Rivers continues to be a strength of the Chargers offense, Allen will benefit in catching passes from a quarterback who's on track to be the league's most improved player.

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