San Diego Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen has set some lofty goals for himself, as he fully expects to be in the starting lineup on opening night against the Houston Texans.
Quickly, Allen has become a fan favorite, but he will need to standout in training camp if the rookie is going to see significant playing time this season.
The Chargers desperately need a big-play receiver, especially after losing wide receiver Vincent Jackson to free agency last year and tight end Antonio Gates is nearing the end of his Hall-of-Fame career.
Currently, Allen is fourth on the depth chart behind Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown, so he will have to battle stiff competition for playing time this preseason. Opportunities should arise, as neither Alexander or Floyd have remained healthy enough to play an entire season injury-free.
Allen is an excellent late-round value pick in your fantasy draft; he won't make much of an impact in the early part of the season, but as the year progresses, Allen should put up impressive receiving numbers in the Chargers' prolific passing attack. Quarterback Philip Rivers has develop instant chemistry with lesser-talented wide receivers than Allen in the past, so you can expect big offensive afternoons once these two blend their talents together.
He may lack game-breaking speed, but Allen has been a mark of consistency all throughout his collegiate career at the University of California. He's the school's all-time leading receiver with 250 receptions, 2,570 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Allen understands the fundamentals of the game, as he runs precision pass routes that often create enough space away from defenders to gain big yards after a catch.
The Chargers might need to implement more short, quick pass plays to fully utilize Allen's receiving skills. Head coach Mike McCoy will need a full training camp to recognize his physical limitations before creating specific pass plays that allows Allen to make an impact in games. The odds are good that he will have a very productive NFL career.