There’s expected to be a dip in Chargers wide receiver production in 2020, yet Pro Football Focus thinks Keenan Allen still could reach 1,000 yards.
It’s highly unlikely the Los Angeles Chargers wind up boasting two 1,000-yard wide receivers in 2020 like they did a year ago.
Sure, it could happen. And if it did, the likely beneficiaries of this plateau would probably be the two who achieved it last year, wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. But last year’s accomplishment came off the arm of quarterback Philip Rivers, who’s no longer in town, and it doesn’t seem too likely journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has passed for more than 3,000 yards just twice in his nine-year career, would come anywhere close to sparking a vaunted Los Angeles aerial attack.
That said, the folks over at Pro Football Focus are still pretty bullish on the idea at least one of the Chargers wide receivers, Allen, winds up reaching the 1,000-yard mark this season.
PFF’s recent listing of 2020 receivers who could hit this coveted mark touched on some of the obvious names, such as the Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones, the New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans, of course. They were all in the “locks” category with a few others.
Allen, however, was dropped into the “should” category, and PFF cited the change from Rivers to Taylor, or potentially rookie QB Justin Herbert, as the sole reason why the veteran receiver isn’t a lock:
Allen is a beacon of consistency currently riding a three-year streak of 1,000 yards. He has 101 catches of 15-plus yards since 2017 (third-most), behind only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. His injury year notwithstanding, Allen has averaged over 2.0 yards per route run in every season since 2015. Widely regarded as one of the NFL’s best route-runners, Allen would be in the lock category if it were not for the departure of Philip Rivers.
Allen, 28 years old, has turned the page on injuries that hindered the earlier stages of his career, staying almost entirely healthy and reaching this particular mark the past three years en route to three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. PFF is correct when considering the veteran’s status as a consistent threat through the air.
Yet it was almost more beneficial to L.A. to get Williams into that category, too, finally getting the kind of production for which the team had hoped ever since he was selected No. 7 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
If there was going to be a sure drop in receiving stats, it would appear on the surface Williams would fail to reach it, while Allen remained consistent. That said, it’s yet to be determined if Taylor and/or Herbert wind up developing much more of a rapport with the younger Williams instead of Allen.
But the best news of all, perhaps, is the Chargers still boast one of the better all-around offenses in the league in support of their quarterback, whoever he is to start the season. Allen and Williams ranked in the upper half of PFF’s wide receiver rankings entering 2020, while running back Austin Ekeler is primed for a breakout season. Tight end Hunter Henry, playing on the franchise tag, could be in line for a sizable payday as long as he stays healthy and productive.
The only wild card is what happens under center and, to a lesser extent, how effective L.A.’s offensive line is this season.
Still, seeing Allen as a consistency is certainly a boost for the Chargers’ prospects for another productive offensive campaign this season, which they’ll need if they want to make headway in the AFC West.