The 2017 NFL season will kick off in just over two months. With that, it’s time to start making some bold predicitions.
As it relates to the Los Angeles Chargers, we can make a slew of bold predictions as it relates to the team, but this bold prediction is going to focus on an individual player.
Keenan Allen has missed a large portion of the last two seasons, prompting the Chargers to use their first-round pick on a wide receiver. Though some may have seen the selection of Mike Williams as “adding to an already powerful unit”, I saw it as an insurance policy.
Allen missed nearly all of last season after tearing his ACL in the season opener. That injury was all the more troubling when you consider that Allen missed the second half of the 2015 season due to injury. Can he get back to the form he once displayed? Well, that’s the big question.
But let’s suppose that he can.
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In his first two seasons in the league, Allen had 148 catches. In 2015, he already had 67 receptions in just eight games. That included three games where he had at least 12 receptions. That year, he was on a torrid pace and had he kept it up, he likely would have led the entire league in receptions, probably easily.
So if Allen is at 100 percent and still has that chemistry with Philip Rivers, he is going to catch a bunch of passes. If he can get back to the way he was playing prior to being injured during that 2015 season, he can—and likely would—win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.
The award is often given to players returning from tough injuries. Just alst season, Jordy Nelson took home the award after returning from a torn ACL suffered the previous preseason. Other recent winners include Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski and the Chargers’ own Rivers.
The Chargers might have drafted Williams. Tyrell Williams may have burst onto the scene last year. But make no mistake, Allen is still the No. 1 guy and will still get many looks from Rivers. If he’s the Allen that we saw pre-injuries, he’ll be carrying home some hardware next year when the NFL holds its annual NFL Honors awards show.