The NFL scouting combine is a place where teams get a chance to view, converse and analyze the top prospects for the upcoming draft. Even for prospects that are not participating in drills because of injuries or for other reasons such as opting for their own Pro Day, this time in Indianapolis gives teams a chance to verbally dissect draft-eligible players through interviews.
For Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen, his mouth literally did most of his talking for him, as he will not participate in any of the drills at the NFL scouting combine. One of the many teams to interview Allen was the San Francisco 49ers, a team coming off their recent Super Bowl appearance.
“The 49ers grilled me really hard on it,” said Allen. “The coach [49ers receivers coach John Morton] was real strict and detailed, so I liked that a lot.”
After re-tweaking his knee in training, Allen decided to not run the 40-yard dash. He plans on running it at the Cal Pro Day on March 14.
For many Bay Area fans, the appeal of seeing Allen go from Berkeley to San Francisco (and eventually Santa Clara) would be a dream come true. The ultra-talented wideout has been viewed as one of the top players at his position in this year’s draft class.
Despite his excellent attributes and standing atop draft boards, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver may drop into the bottom half of the first round due to the posterior cruciate ligament tear he suffered in late October.
Injury aside, another reason for his potential descent of draft boards is West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. Just 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, the speedy receiver had an official 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds and has drawn comparisons to the likes of Percy Harvin and Wes Welker. The 49ers will likely also examine Austin to see whether he fits their offense and needs.
With Michael Crabtree being the only sure thing at wide receiver for next season, the potential drafting of Allen could be a huge coup for the 49ers. While his draft stock is in question due to his knee injury, he’d instantly shoot to the top of the depth chart since Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams both suffered ACL tears, and Randy Moss and Ted Ginn Jr. are currently unsigned.
Austin Chang is a Writer for Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.