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Monday, April 21, 2014
Bolts All Under-25 team: Keenan Allen

By Eric D. Williams

In this series we take a look at 12 players for the San Diego Chargers who are 25 or younger and who could be considered foundational or impact players.

Player: WR Keenan Allen
Age: 21

Allen
The skinny: Chargers general manager Tom Telesco got perhaps the best steal in last year's draft by taking Allen in the third round. The Cal product led all rookies in 2013 and set a team record with 1,046 receiving yards and 71 catches during the regular season. Allen became just the fifth rookie since 2000 to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards. Allen was just as effective in the postseason, finishing with eight catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Reason for optimism: At 6-2 and 211 pounds, Allen was expected to serve as more of a developmental prospect his rookie season, but was forced to take on a more prominent role with injuries to Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd. With a full offseason to work as the No. 1 receiver alongside quarterback Philip Rivers, on-field chemistry -- already strong -- should continue to improve. Allen also is another year removed from the knee issue he suffered in college, so his speed will get better as well.

Reason for concern: How will Allen handle playing against the opposing team's top cornerback on a weekly basis? Do the Chargers have enough weapons on offense to keep teams from doubling Allen? And can Allen prove he can consistently get deep so cornerbacks don't sit on the underneath routes? These are all questions Allen has to answer in the upcoming season. And he can begin to answer those questions by working hard during San Diego’s offseason program to develop more core strength, agility and speed to last throughout the duration of the season. The Chargers also need to do their part by adding more playmakers to the offensive side of the ball to help take pressure off of Allen.