Best Player On The Board
By Bill Lund
The first day is done and the 2013 draft had its share of surprises A few unexpected players crept into the first round, and few have slid into Day Two. With all the chaotic movements of Round 1, who will be the steal of Day Two?
Let's look at two players still on the board, who were both considered the best at their position.
Keenan Allen WR, Cal
Allen at 6-2, 206 pounds, has an NFL body with a big catching radius and tremendous reach. He has good agility on cuts and is capable of breaking tackles after the catch. Shows tremendous quickness on his releases, especially on slants and hard inside routes. He is strong on his vertical releases can work through press coverage with his length and quickness. Excellent at changing speeds while running his routes, varies his speed to get open. Stems his routes well, understands how to leverage DBs to get open. Allen has a good feel for finding openings in zone coverage. Has the ability to adjust to balls in flight attacking the ball in the air with his hands and has good ball skills. Shows an ability to go up and win in jump ball situations, high-pointing well.
I thought he was clearly the best WR in the draft. Seems that his poor time at his pro day and concerns about his knee have made teams hesitant. Allen had questions about his speed prior to his pro day, yet he has a lot of big plays in a highly athletic conference. Allen has more versatility as a WR working as a slot, Z or the X receiver positions than either Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson, both of whom were selected in the first round. Allen posses arguably the best football IQ and work ethic compared all the WRs drafted ahead of him. The slight may prove to be the tipping point and create a large chip on his shoulder, making him a great Day 2 value for teams in need of WR help. Keenan Allen will come into camp looking to make teams that passed on him pay.
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Manti Te’o, at 6-1, 241 pounds, has NFL size and is a solid athlete with good change of direction. Manti’s strength is in his football instincts. He recognizes run/pass well, reacting to misdirection and boot plays quickly. Has a knack in finding run-through lanes and makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. Te’o will initiate contact with OL using a strong punch and disengage. Te’o exploded in pass coverage this season with 7 interceptions. He has a great feel in diagnosing route combinations with good range in space and timing on breaks. Is solid in man coverage with favorable matchups.
Bottom line is Te’o has the instincts to compete at a high level in the NFL. He is a better player than Alec Ogletree, with proven instincts. Ogetree’s athletic ability overshadowed his inability to truly diagnose plays quickly. Te’o can play a Mike or Will L\linebacker in a 4-3. He also has shown enough skill to produce as a 3-4 ILB. Te'o has a proven work ethic and has shown he is a student that looks to master his craft. Whoever drafts Te’o in Day 2 will get the best LB in the draft.