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Keenan Allen's explosiveness leads to CBSSports.com OROY award

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Keenan Allen had the best rookie year for a receiver in the past 10 years. (USATSI)
Keenan Allen had the best rookie year for a receiver in the past 10 years. (USATSI)

Offensive rookie of the year | Defensive rookie of the year | Comeback player of the year | Disappointment of the year | Coach of the year | Defensive MVP | Offensive MVP

The case for Allen: The offseason was rough for the Chargers receiver after he posted a picture of himself sporting a Raiders cap after knocking back a nice lunch, but he quickly ingratiated himself with San Diego fans with his play on the field. He recorded 71 catches, 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns -- as a reminder, he didn't play in Week 1 and only had a combined three receptions in Weeks 2 and 3 -- and he played a big role in a resurgent Chargers offense that ranked No. 5 in the league. Overall, Allen arguably had the best season by an NFL rookie receiver since Michael Clayton in 2004.

The case against Allen: His name would be Eddie Lacy, and for the first time in five years, a Packers running back rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Lacy, in fact, gained 1,178 yards (with a 4.1 average) and 11 touchdowns, and Green Bay's running game -- which finished as the seventh-best attack in the league -- was a top-10 unit for the first time in 10 years. You could have also made the case, as our voters did, that Vikings receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson or Lions guard Larry Warford were worthy of a first-place vote. Plus, Allen ranked third on the team in receptions behind Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead.

Keenan Allen nearly quit the team after not playing in Week 1. (USATSI)
Keenan Allen nearly quit the team after not playing in Week 1. (USATSI)

Why Allen is our choice: Based partially on the contributions of Allen and the help he gave Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in his career renaissance, the Chargers went to the playoffs, beat the Bengals on the road and gave a scare to the Broncos in Denver. You wouldn't be wrong going with Allen or Lacy, but we liked Allen just a little better.

Will Allen win the hardware: Probably not. The Packers are a team with one of the highest profiles in the league, and the run game with Lacy was SO much better than it's been in the past few seasons without him, the voters will lean toward Lacy.

The vote totals (first-place votes in parenthesis):

Chargers WR Keenan Allen: 53 (4)

Packers RB Eddie Lacy: 48 (1)

Bengals RB Gio Bernard: 31

Vikings WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson: 26 (1)

Lions G Larry Warford: 17 (1)

Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell: 14

Bears G Kyle Long: 13

Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon: 12

Rams RB Zac Stacy: 12

Chargers T D.J. Fluker: 10

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins: 7

Cowboys C Travis Frederick: 6

Ravens WR Marlon Brown: 2

Cardinals RB Andre Ellington: 1

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