Football: It took a while, but Keenan Allen finally goes to Chargers with the 76th pick of draft

Keenan Allen didn’t know quite what to say or how to feel.

After finally being taken by the San Diego Chargers with the 76th overall pick in the NFL draft — deep into the third round — the former Cal wide receiver’s emotions leaned more to relief than joy.

“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “I was in the dark like you guys.”

Six months ago, Allen was being projected as the top receiver prospect in the draft, a sure first-rounder. He wound up as just the eighth wideout taken.

“Every time another receiver was taken, it was like another dagger,” said former Cal coach Jeff Tedford. “I could imagine how he felt because I was feeling it for him and with him. Knowing Keenan, this will just add fuel to the fire.”

“Being a third-round pick is definitely motivation for me,” Allen said. “I want to get out there and show everybody I can play.”

Allen, Cal’s career receptions leader, missed the final three games last season after spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. After aggravating it, he wasn’t able to work out at the NFL combine.

Allen also was the subject of an anonymously sourced ESPN report a week ago that said his combine drug test was red-flagged. Allen said Friday his knee is sound just not strong yet, and that he never failed a drug test.

ESPN backed off the story and Allen said he doesn’t think it had an effect on his draft position.

Whatever the reason, his stock plummeted to the point that he just the eighth wideout taken.

ESPN’s draft commentators were astounded. Analyst Bill Polian, a former NFL team executive, compared Allen’s skills to those of Reggie Wayne, who has caught nearly 1,000 career passes for the Indianapolis Colts.

Tedford said Allen’s recent 40 times were misleading and predicted he will become a Pro Bowl player. “The Chargers just got a great player,” he said.

Allen said he expects to make an immediate contribution with the Chargers.

“I see myself doing well, definitely being a starter, trying to be an impact player,” he said of his rookie goals. “I want to make it a goal to be a Pro Bowl player.”

Tedford said Allen may surprise teams that overlooked him.

“So many people go off numbers and his 40 times,” Tedford said. “I think was mainly because his of rehab with his knee and he had a little setback.

“If you’re just looking at that, you can see why people shy away from those numbers. We know that’s not him. He plays more like a 4.5 guy.

“He’s such a great competitor. I think he’s going to be a great NFL player,” Tedford said. “I have unbeleivable confidence and belief that he’s going to do great things.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • rob bear

    Make us proud Keenan. Happy to hear that you are staying in California. Not a big NFL fan but I will keep my eye on your progress. Go BEARS!

  • Will

    Absolute steal. He’ll make an immediate impact.

  • Juancho

    As a raider fan this is a lose lose. Cant root for him until he leaves san diego.

  • rotfogel

    Still surprised that the best CB entering the draft hasn’t been picked yet: Steve Williams. I hope my Niners have half a brain and select him soon. It’s as if no scout actually watched game film or noticed that he was top ten in almost every category at the combine. Anyone remember his INT vs Andrew Luck?

  • GoldenTrailsDave

    It disgusts me to read about Tedford lamenting Keenan’s draft stock dropping. He is directly responsible for Keenan’s injury. He should have never been on the field for that ridiculous onside kick at Utah. That is costing Keenan millions.

  • GldnBear71

    What high from a drug could be worth the loss of millions. Stupid kid.

  • Juancho

    Bingo golden trails.

  • covinared

    good for schweinke and williams. best of luck!

  • wehofx

    W LA not having an nfl team, Green Bay became my team because of AR.

    Chargers might have to become my second fav team w SW. Rivers erratic arm and funky motion won’t be a big change for KA after catching zm’s passes.

  • Juancho

    Wehofx please reconsider. Were all raiders fans here. And im basing that on zero facts.

  • ConcordBear

    Congrats to Keenan, Brian and Steve
    Very happy for them and am rooting for their professional success.
    Still a round to go!
    Saw some La Tech guys picked too…
    Go Bears!

  • Larry

    Keenan,Brian,Steve,and Marc were drafted from a 3-9 team. Not bad.

    It would have been funny to see Maynard drafted as ‘Mr. Irrelivent’, but they wouldn’t want to waste the pick.

  • daredevilfan

    As a charger fan that juancho is choosing to ignore I think it is cool to have a couple of our cal boys in town. I think the word is out that while their college doesn’t finish high these guys come from a program that stocks the n f l.

  • Juancho

    Corageous devil my apologies. I based my pro raiders sentiment on zero fact as mentioned in my post. I think my brother boalt is the only other i remember posting raiders support.

  • Boaltblue

    To GldnBear71 and everyone else:

    Let’s put an end now to the FALSE rumors that Keenan Allen failed a drug test. As the story above says, “Allen also was the subject of an anonymously sourced ESPN report a week ago that said his combine drug test was red-flagged. Allen said Friday his knee is sound just not strong yet, and that he never failed a drug test. ESPN backed off the story . . . .

    There is NO PROOF that KA is anything but a fine young man who played his heart out for Cal. Do not wrongfully disparage his reputation. Do not ignorantly repeat this erroneous claim by some coward who will not stand behind the claim by showing his/her face to the world with proof.

    To my brother Juancho, Go Raiders! One suggestion: the Raiders need to select more Cal players to make it easier for Cal Alums to favor the Raiders team.

  • so Boaltblue, breakdown KA’s breakdown in the draft. Maybe the herd just ran the other direction for no reason. Maybe the knee; maybe more of the intangibles (or should I say less of them).

  • BlueNGold

    I am by no means an expert on this stuff, but I have never gotten the impression that KA was an exceptional talent. Good, yes. Above average, likely. But that’s about all I saw in him.

  • Boaltblue


    I can only surmise that Keenan’s injury, which is more long-lasting than expected, slowed his 40-yard dash times, along with the undeserved FALSE rumors hurt his draft stock. Until I see evidence of wrongdoing by Keenan, I consider him a fine young man and he has my appreciation for playing at Memorial Stadium. He represented Cal very well on the field.

    I think Keenan has one of the best lateral fakes/moves that I have seen. He has great hands and can catch in a crowd. His playing speed is faster than his most recent 40-yard dash times. The Chargers got a steal.

    If he remains healthy, he will be one of the NFL’s best receivers.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    At least Keenan will have a decent QB to throw passes to him now as a Charger.