Keenan Allen caught 104 passes for the Los Angeles Chargers last season and still dropped from No. 38 to No. 77 in the annual NFL Network’s countdown of the top 100 players.
“Starting to think I did something to somebody,” tweeted Allen, a nod to the fact that the rankings are the result of voting by NFL players.
The 28-year-old wide receiver, who played three productive seasons at Cal, apparently was quite disturbed by the NFL Network’s list, which annually causes consternation from players.
This year’s rankings certainly wiggled under Allen’s skin.
“Ok I’m tired of biten my tongue, @cheetah, @MikeEvans13_, @chrisgoodwin (and the list goes on) ARE NOT a better reciever than me! Faster than me every day of the week but separation. CHILD PLEASE!” he wrote on Twitter.
“IM THE BEST WR IN THE AFC WEST!!! Without question!!!”
His references were to Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs and Mike Evans and Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- none of whom had yet appeared on the NFL Network countdown, through Monday night's unveiling of Nos. 50-41.
Allen inadvertently used the wrong Twitter handle for Godwin, a mistake Evans couldn’t let pass.
“You tagged the wrong Chris Godwin lol and don’t be mad at us we ain’t make the rankings or care about em. I like the confidence but be realistic you not on my level bro,” Evans tweeted.
Rivals and teammates told the NFL Network in this video that Allen's superb route-running puts him in a special category.
“One of the best receivers at the top of the route in the league . . . and the start of the route. I would say he has the top two releases in the league right now. Him and Devante Adams . . . they really run routes. You have to repeat everything they do,” said Stephon Gilmore, a two-time All-Pro cornerback with the New England Patriots.
Colts linebacker Anthony Walker: “Best route-runner I’ve ever faced.”
Chris Harris Jr., a former four-time All-Pro cornerback with the Denver Broncos: “He just knows how to get open.”
Eagles cornerback Darius Slay: “Great route-runner, man. He can fool you quick. Trying to play him man, ain’t gonna work. He’s freaky, freaky, freaky.”
Statistics can pretty much convey whatever you want them to say, but Allen has some numbers that support his position.
— His 104 receptions in 2019 were more than Hill, Evans or Godwin totaled.
— Allen’s totals of 303 receptions and 3,788 yards over the past three seasons are higher than any of the other three.
— Pro Football Focus gave him a 91 overall grade for those three seasons, according to the New York Post, which also ranks higher than any of the others.
On the other hand, Hill, Evans and Godwin all have better yards-per-catch numbers than Allen both last season and over a three-year span.
And Hill’s 26 touchdown receptions since the start of 2017 are eight more than Allen’s total of 18 even though Allen played five more games. Evans also has reached the end zone more often than Allen, with 21 TD catches.
Evans, in particular, might be the wrong guy to challenge -- he has begun his career with six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
None of it deterred Allen from triggering an argument.
Here’s how the four players compared in 2019:
Allen: 16 games, 104 receptions, 1,199 yards, 11.5 yards/rec, 6 TD
Hill: 12 games, 58 receptions, 860 yards, 14.8 yards/rec, 7 TDs
Evans: 13 games, 67 receptions, 1,157 yards, 17.3 yards/rec, 8 TD
Godwin: 14 games, 86 receptions, 1,333 yards, 15.5 yards/rec, 9 TD
And the past 3 seasons:
Allen: 48 games, 303 receptions, 3,788 yards, 12.5 yards/rec, 18 TD
Hill: 43 games, 220 receptions, 3,522 yards, 16.9 yards/rec, 26 TD
Evans: 44 games, 224 receptions, 3,682 yards, 16.4 yards/rec, 21 TD
Godwin: 46 games, 179 receptions, 2,700 yards, 15.1 yards/rec, 17 TD
*** The Sports Illustrated gang weighs in on the argument in this video:
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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