KEENAN ALLEN, WR from Cal. That's my guy at 23 after leaving the NFL Scouting Combine, attaining information and discussiing the Vikings and the draft with the most Elite Football Minds one can find. Allen replaces WR QUINTON PATTON as my current choice at 23.
Allen is not running at the Combine and instead will do so for GMs and coaches at his pro day. From what I have learned he's not as fast as Tennessee's CORDARELLE PATTERSON or as big as Baylor's TERRENCE WILLIAMS but might be the most pro-ready WR to hit this year's draft.
NFLN's MIKE MAYOCK was on my radio show today and compared him to ANQUAN BOLDIN, who has had a terrific career and absolutely blew up his rookie season with the Cardinals. Boldin is not elite with the straight-line speed and either is Allen.
But like Anquan, Keenan catches everything thrown his way and is a spectacular route runner. One personnel guy from another team told me today he reminds him of JORDY NELSON, a WR I absolutely love. I definitely thing USC's ROBERT WOODS is a WR we need to consider but was told today Allen exits a less pass-friendly offense, made the most of every snap and is more reliable than Robert.
Getting him at 23 may be problematic, but there supposedly are so many good DL in this draft there should be a top-20 run on them, which may leave Allen there for us at 23. Or if we trade HARVIN we should leave the equation with at least seven picks through the first four rounds, and that will be more than enough to trade up and nab Keenan Allen.
Patterson is the guy I heard the best things about entering the Combine but left hearing his work ethic may be in question and absorbing NFL plays may be difficult to start, too. He absolutely will go in the first round, but gut-feeling wise I want Allen more than him. Keenan Allen would be our number-one receiver and I'd be fine with that.
Patton and Woods sound like second-round guys, and given I do not expect Minnesota to chase the Big Three in free agency I would not be mad at the team if it went Allen-Patton or Allen-Woods with the first two picks.
We may need two starting LBs next season with JASPER and ERIN both free agents, and my steam indicates they both may be backups. MANTI T'EO very well could be available at 23 but for some reason I don't totally trust him as a three-down guy. Take T'eo at 23 and he's your starting MLB from the first snap. He and GREENWAY should make up one of the better tackling duos around, but I still cannot get out of my mind how T'eo was thoroughly handled in the BCS Title game.
To draft and start T'eo we'd need some more meat in front of him, which means attaining a DT in free agency or back draft is a must. Still, I want the team to put better skill guys around CHRISTIAN PONDER, and going WR with the first two picks would inspire the fan base, give Ponder a better chance to succeed and help us score with explosive teams in the division.
Keenan Allen as of now is the player I want the Vikings to find a way to get in the first round.