Keenan Allen has been one of the most underrated wide receivers in the entire league throughout his career but once Justin Herbert came into town he started to get his roses. However, the league has gained an influx of receiver talent over the last several years, bumping the Chargers' wideout down the list of top receivers.
Heading into the 2020 season Allen was a surefire top-seven or so wide receiver in the entire league. Now, despite being at practically the same level, Allen finds himself much lower on many people's rankings.
This time he is probably not underrated as there are so many star receivers in the league and Allen still got the recognition of being a Pro Bowler last season. That being said, there has been a lot of discussion about where Allen ranks among the NFL hierarchy of wide receivers heading into 2022.
We wanted to join the conversation, breaking down receivers into different tiers based on their ability, age, and other factors.
Which tier does Chargers' wide receiver Keenan Allen find himself falling in?
Tier 1 (The best of the best of the best): Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase
Cooper Kupp had the closest thing to an MVP season for a wide receiver last year and was the most important player on the Super Bowl-winning Rams. A lot of people will say that Davante Adams is the best receiver in the league but that honor should go to Kupp.
Some may say that it is too early for Ja'Marr Chase to be in this tier but he was the most impactful offensive player on the team that represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. He is already a mega-star after year one and absolutely deserves to be in this tier.
Tier 2 (Knocking on the door of tier 1): Tyreek Hill, Deebo Samuel, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb
An NFL team is still in a great spot if it has one of these receivers as the WR1, which is why it was such a good thing for the LA Chargers that the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. Any of these guys can break down the door into Tier 1 in 2022.
Tier 3 (Still elite despite having a terrible quarterback): Diontae Johnson, D.J. Moore, Terry McLaurin
These three receivers put up similar numbers as some of the players ahead of them as well as some players on a lower tier despite having three of the worst quarterback situations in the league last season. With a quarterback like Justin Herbert, all three of these guys would shoot up most people's wide receiver rankings and here we give them love.
Tier 4 (True WR1s): Keenan Allen, D.K. Metcalf, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, A.J. Brown
Keenan Allen falls in the fourth tier of wide receivers. He is undoubtedly still a solid WR1 option, even if outlets like Pro Football Focus rank him 20th behind some questionable receivers. This puts Allen in the 12-15 range among receivers depending on how you would rank this tier, which is a fair place to put him.
He is definitely good enough to be the best receiver on a Super Bowl-winning team but with so much receiver talent in the league, he does fall behind a bit in the hierarchy.
Tier 5 (WR1.5s): Tyler Lockett, Hunter Renfrow, Mike Williams, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Brandin Cooks
While Mike Williams had a very similar season to Keenan Allen, he needs to prove it more and be more consistent to escape this WR1.5 tier. Raiders fans will swear that Renfrow belongs in the WR1 tier but he doesn't and the likes of Tee Higgins and Tyler Lockett could jump a tier if they were the true no. 1 option on their teams.
Brandin Cooks and Michael Pittman had bad quarterbacks last season but I do not feel good about moving them to a higher tier as it feels like there are 18 or so receivers who are better.
Tier 6 (The Amari Cooper line): Amari Cooper
Amari Cooper is the hardest receiver in the league judge. He puts up WR1 numbers but he also isn't as good as the guys ahead of him but doesn't really fit into the tiers below him. Thus, we have created the Amari Cooper line. Receivers below him want to jump this line to be truly impactful players while the receivers above him fear falling below this line.
Tier 7 (Elite potential with young QBs): Jaylen Waddle, Darnell Mooney, Amon St. Brown
Are there 20 receivers who are more talented than Jaylen Waddle? Probably not. I would certainly pick Waddle over just about every receiver in tier 5. However, when we are grouping together the receivers this is a fair place to put him. He has elite potential with a young quarterback who simply needs to improve.
Mooney is not quite as talented as Waddle but he still put together a 1,000-yard season in 2021 despite being in one of the worst situations in the league. He deserves his credit for having that kind of season. St. Brown came on extremely strong at the end of the 2021 campaign and Lions fans have to be really excited about what he has to offer.
Tier 8 (Please be a WR1.... please): Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith, Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Jameson Williams, Chris Olave
Four of the receivers in this tier are rookies as their respective teams are hoping that they can be the true WR1 that they are projected to be. Two of these receivers are young with something to prove. Both Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith have shown a lot of potential but the two Alabama receivers need to turn that potential into true WR1 output.
Granted, neither has had great quarterback play but they don't belong anywhere close to tier 3. They are both unproven.
Tier 9 (Can you play 8 games, let alone 17?): DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Robert Woods, Odell Beckham Jr.
Whether it is because of injuries or a steroid suspension (looking at you, DeAndre Hopkins), these receivers are all talented but it is unclear how many games they will even be able to play next season.
Because they do not have that reliability, they have to be put into the ninth and final tier, creating our top-36 receivers in the league by tiers.