Anquan Boldin is gone and the Ravens have a need in their wide receiving corps.
If Baltimore turns to the draft to find a replacement, they may be able to snag a prospect that models his game after the hard-nosed veteran.
California receiver Keenan Allen is a late first-round, early second-round projection who has been tied to the Ravens by draft analysts.
“I like to compare myself to Anquan Boldin – aggressive, physical like that,” Allen said at the scouting combine.
“His physicalness, going up and making catches you don't think he's going to come down with. [Joe] Flacco just throws it up there sometimes, and he always makes incredible catches, including the Super Bowl game, so that's what I like about him.”
Incoming prospects often compare themselves to current NFL stars as a frame of reference, sometimes without many similarities between the two players.
But analysts say that Allen’s comparison seems on target.
“If you watch this kid on tape, if you like him, he’s Anquan Boldin,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.
It’s not just Allen’s style that is reminiscent of Boldin.
Allen, 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, has a similar build to Boldin (6-1, 220), and both are sure handed in traffic.
Also, neither player has blazing speed.
Allen recently ran the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds at his pro day, which somewhat hurt his draft stock and likely pushed him back to the end of the first round. Similarly, Boldin ran the 40 in 4.7 seconds leading up to the 2003 draft and ended up sliding out of the first round. Boldin got taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the 54th-overall pick and ended up being the rookie of the year.
“I know people have been doubting me on my speed, but I don't feel like I'm a slow guy,” Allen said. “I feel like I'm pretty fast, but I definitely put some effort into it.”
The Ravens used Boldin primarily in the slot during his three years in Baltimore, and that’s a position they are looking to fill.
“I played a lot in the slot, definitely in college,” Allen said. “Third down, second down, I get in there with the linebacker and they'd get a mismatch. So, [I] did that a lot. Definitely comfortable in the slot.”
Allen has been considered by some to be the top receiving prospect in the draft. He racked up over 1,300 receiving yards and 98 receptions in 2011, and followed that up with 61 catches for 737 yards last year.
He’s been one of the most productive college receivers of the last two seasons, and now the Ravens may have a chance to bring him in to take over for the player whom he models himself after.
“I’m trying to make an impact as soon as I get there,” Allen said. “My work ethic is there, and I’m determined to be successful."