Through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, one of the most shocking developments -- in the non-Matt Barkley department -- was the drop of former Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen. Allen was projected to go anywhere from the mid-first round to the mid-second round, but no one -- including Allen himself -- thought he would end up in the third round.
"I’m not sure what happened. I was in the dark, like you guys," Allen said on Friday after being drafted 76th overall by the San Diego Chargers. "I wasn’t that worried about when my name was going to be called, but I was just being calm and keeping my head up just waiting for my name to be called."
Players snubbed in the draft, like Tom Brady, love to play with a chip on their shoulder and that sounds exactly like what Allen's going to do, "Being a third-round pick is definitely motivation for me," Allen said. "I want to get out there and show everybody I can play. It pretty much comes down to producing on the field and showing everyone what you can do on the field."
Allen, who holds the career receptions record at Cal, sees himself making an impact right away in San Diego, "I see myself doing well, definitely being a starter," Allen said. "I want to make it a goal to be a Pro Bowl player."
The NFL Draft is just one giant smokescreen, so it's impossible to know exactly why Allen's stock dropped, but one of the things that could have hurt him was a red-flagged drug test at the NFL Combine, "I think it was all a mistake," Allen said. "The red flag definitely wasn't a failed drug test."
The other factor in Allen's fall could have been injuries, Allen suffered a PCL injury in October that kept him from participating at the combine, "My knee has definitely healed back to 100 percent but as far as strength and power I would say it’s about 85-90 percent," Allen said.
Dropping to the third round may have disappointed Allen, but he certainly doesn't find his new locale disappointing, "If anyone was going to pick me in California, I was definitely hoping for San Diego just because of the atmosphere and the place that it is with great weather," Allen said. "The San Diego Chargers are definitely a great program, too."
The North Carolina native will now be catching passes from someone he grew up watching: former North Carolina State quarterback Philip Rivers. "I’m definitely ready to get up under his wing, learn the offense, create that connection, have a 1-2 punch and just get it going," Allen said.
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