Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert knows all about breaking records as a rookie. After Herbert shattered several passing records in 2020, Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase took the mantle and had a groundbreaking 2021.
The No. 5 overall pick finished the year with 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors; Herbert won it the previous season.
In doing so, Chase now owns the most receiving yards by a rookie in regular season history. He also posted the most receiving yards in a single game by a rookie with 266 and most receiving yards by a rookie in the playoffs (279) in NFL history.
Despite Chase's immediate success and establishing himself as one of the game's superstar receivers, he doesn't view himself as a top-five guy yet.
You know who the Bengals phenom does hold in that regard, though? The perennially underrated Keenan Allen, whom Chase believes is the second-best receiver in the NFL behind Davante Adams. Allen checked in ahead of Stefon Diggs, Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson in Chase's rankings.
Ja'Marr Chase believes Chargers stud Keenan Allen is the second-best wide receiver in the NFL.
That's some big praise from Chase.
Chargers fans know all too well that Allen regularly gets glossed over as one of the league's premier receivers despite being as consistent as any of them. In 2021, Allen set a career-high with 106 catches, which led the team, and finished with more than 1,100 receiving yards for the fourth time in five seasons.
Since 2017, Allen has averaged 101.8 catches, 1,183.6 yards and 6.4 touchdowns. Again, very few receivers have been that consistent. In fact, Allen has the most catches (509) and targets (748) during that span and only Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and Tyreek Hill have managed more yards than Allen's 5,918.
Not everyone will agree with Chase's rankings. Some lists will include more physically-imposing receivers like DK Metcalf and AJ Brown, while others will favor smaller wideouts who excel after the catch like Hill and Deebo Samuel.
When it comes to route-running and generating separation from defenders, though,very few do it better than Allen. Entering his age-30 season, it's unclear how many top years the five-time Pro Bowler has left, but Chase's rankings just underscores the fact that fans shouldn't take him for granted.
Allen's not the flashiest receiver but the fact he consistently resides in the top five of fellow WR's rankings tells us all we need to know, even though the national media pigeon-holes him in the second- or third-tier of wideouts.