It's crazy what a superstar quarterback can do as far as bolstering a wide receiver's reputation. While LA Chargers phenom Justin Herbert has helped grow Keenan Allen's stock around the NFL, the 30-year-old has long been one of the most polished pass-catchers the game has to offer.
Of course, the Allen disrespect is aided by the fact he's a possession-based receiver who's (somewhat) dependent on volume.
With upper-echelon receivers like Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Tyreek Hill all capable of providing fireworks on deep balls and in YAC (yards after catch) situations, Allen likely isn't high on many WR rankings.
If you asked former Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman for his rankings, though, he'd rank the Chargers star in his top-tier of current NFL receivers. According to Edelman, Allen ranks behind Adams and just ahead of Kupp as the league's second-best wideout.
Julian Edelman thinks LA Chargers star Keenan Allen is still a top-3 receiver in the NFL.
Appearing on the "I Am Athlete" podcast, Edelman lauded Allen's ability to create separation both on his break and at the top of his routes.
The former Patriots referenced Allen's "crossover" release that flips opposing defensive back's hips. Allen has mastered the art of route-running and that split-second where DBs are readjusting their hips makes all the difference in him getting open for Herbert, whose cannon for a right arm can fit throws into the finest of windows.
As a former undersized receiver, Edelman clearly appreciates what route-running technicians like Adams, Allen and Kupp bring to the table. The only thing that hurts Allen's standing amongst the game's best receivers is that most football fans don't recognize the value of separation rate against single coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Allen ranks in the top five in that department over the last four seasons.
At the end of the day, Allen's production is undeniable. Last season marked the third consecutive year he logged over 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards. He's also caught at least six touchdowns in every season dating back to 2017. How many receivers in the NFL can say they've been that consistent?
Whatever the case, Allen approves of Edelman's rankings.
Since 2017, Allen's 509 receptions are the most at the position, edging out Adams' 506. The next closest are DeAndre Hopkins at 472 and Stefon Diggs at 459. His 748 targets during that span are also tops amongst WRs. During that same stretch, only Adams, Hopkins and Tyreek Hill have more receiving yards than Allen's 5,918.
Allen might not be everyone's cup of tea and even we concede Edelman might be reaching ranking him as the NFL's second-best wideout, but there's no denying he deserves mention alongside the game's best receivers.
Suffice it to say Edelman now has a friend in Charger Nation, though.