3. Can Keenan Allen reverse his yards per reception trend?
As mentioned earlier, Allen will head into his first season of a four year extension. 2021 will also be his last season prior to turning 30 next year. One statistic that Chargers fans should pay attention to is Allen’s yards per reception.
Allen’s career yards per reception high came in his rookie season where he averaged 14.7. When he came back in 2017 following his ACL tear, he averaged 13.7 yards per reception. But that number has dipped in each successive season since his return. From 2017 to 2020 in order: 13.7, 12.3, 11.5, 9.9.
Now before we really get into possible decline conversation, it’s worth pointing out that there are a lot of factors that aren’t apparent strictly based on the numbers. Philip Rivers’ arm talent declined pretty drastically over that span while Justin Herbert was a rookie not given a ton of slack to work with. Herbert averaged just 7.3 yards per passing attempt, a number that should almost certainly go up in 2021.
Allen’s yards per route run were also down significantly in 2020 though. In previous seasons, he had ranked top 5-10 in YPRR. Allen was only 27th in yards per route run, just ahead of Washington’s Terry McLaurin. For someone who’s often been mentioned as one of the best route runners in the league (rightfully so), it could just be a blip on the radar. It’s still something to watch though as Allen hits the wrong side of 30, especially since the Chargers need to stretch the field.