Sports Out West

NFL draft 2013: Chargers’ Keenan Allen compared to Reggie Wayne

Photo by Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

The San Diego Chargers are looking like winners through two days of the 2013 NFL Draft, and former Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian seems to agree.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Polian likened the Bolts’ third-round pick, Keenan Allen out of Cal, to Colts star receiver Reggie Wayne. That’s high praise from a former NFL executive and current analyst who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to evaluating talent in both the collegiate and NFL ranks. Polian is a six-time winner of Sporting News’ George Young NFL Executive of the Year Award.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

In 12 NFL seasons, Reggie Wayne has amassed 13,063 yards receiving and 78 touchdowns.
Photo by Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

Wayne is a six-time Pro Bowler and a 2010 All-Pro who is likely headed to the Hall of Fame. At 6’0, 198 lbs., he isn’t a physically imposing threat, but showed precise route-running and pass-catching ability despite his relatively modest stature. Allen is the same type of player, but at 6’2, 206 pounds, he is more suited to be a go-to player earlier on than Wayne was as a young player playing alongside the legendary Marvin Harrison.

The former Cal star has a long way to go, but if Polian made that comparison, he wasn’t doing so unfounded.

In addition to leading the Colts to prominence from the depths of the NFL, he led the Carolina Panthers to an NFC Championship appearance in just their second year of existence. He was masterful at finding diamonds-in-the-rough like Pierre Garcon and Dominic Rhodes in the later rounds, and when he says an incoming NFL player reminds him ofC an all-time great, it’s worth paying attention to.

Also worth noting is that Allen’s falling draft stock had little to do with football. He was red-flagged for a drug test following the combine, something that his agent vehemently denied as anything having to do with a failed test prior to that story coming out.

That aside, Allen is a true game-changer, and he could come into a situation with San Diego and play immediately given the Bolts’ struggles on that side of the ball a season ago.

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.