The last offensive player on the San Diego Chargers to win the rookie of the year was running back Don Woods in 1974. He set the rookie rushing record at the time and played with the Chargers for a number of seasons. The team did have a defensive award winner in 2005 with Shawne Merriman, but it doesn’t really count because of his steroid allegations.
That all may change after this season. Many people are now considering Keenan Allen a rookie of the year candidate. The third round draft pick has now racked up 843 yards and 3 touchdowns in 11 games. Keep in mind that he was rarely utilized in the first two games. He is on pace to set the Chargers rookie receiving yardage record and seems to be getting better in each time he steps on the field.
Allen has developed into the number one receiver on the San Diego offense. With the losses of Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd, Allen has stepped up big time. He isn’t known for blazing speed, but he is a great route runner and has good hands. He often creates space and provides a great option for quarterback Philip Rivers.
His main competition for this award is running back Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Lacy has turned a lot of heads in becoming a main facet of Green Bay’s offense. He has rushed for 822 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on the season. Lacy would win the award if the season were to end today, but after the next four weeks Allen should become the clear favorite. Without Aaron Rodgers, opposing defenses focus on the Green Bay running game and have seriously slowed down Lacy. In 2 of the last 3 games, Lacy has had less then 30 yards rushing.
At the same time, Allen should only improve as the season continues. He will likely get another two touchdowns and over 300 yards receiving. It’s only a matter of time before Allen emerges ahead of Lacy.
This is great news for San Diego fans. The team is full of young talent that will continue to improve as time passes. Allen could become one of the top receivers in the NFL for a number of years. The combination between Allen and Rivers could become one of the most lethal duos in the NFL.