Weight: 221 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
Vertical: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 121 inches
3-Cone Drill: 6.96 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds
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Allen is a downhill runner with plenty of power and speed. He has good hands out of the backfield and is a good blocker, meaning he should see plenty of snaps, even as a rookie. Allen had almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage while averaging 5.4 yards per carry last season and a streak of six 100-yard games in a row in a tough Pac-12 conference. He has good lateral quickness and can run inside or outside. When he gets to the corner, he has the explosiveness to run away from the defense with a good burst. Allen was a workhorse at USC, never carrying the ball fewer than 14 times in any game this past season. Allen has also been relatively healthy throughout his collegiate career, though he is currently 23.
He does have an upright running style and can be indecisive at times. Some feel he is too tall and gives defenders a big target with his legs. Others indicate because of his height he exposes the ball in an effort to regain it if he loses his balance. I did not see either of those traits when I watched him however. While he does has good hands, he can drop a few on occasion.
Allen’s prospects actually are quite good in Baltimore. Neither Lorenzo Taliaferro or Justin Forsett are long-term options for the Ravens. More on them later.
Thanks to his good pass-catching skills and new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman’s love of throwing to his backs, Allen should see plenty of work. He is a durable back and is used to a healthy payload. Last season Baltimore ran the ball a little under 50 percent of the time (448 of 1,021 regular season plays were runs). Trestman’s presence will reduce that number some, as he is considered more of a passing offensive coordinator, but I believe that Allen will get the lion’s share of that number by the end of the season, if not sooner.
His ability to catch coupled with his good blocking skills should guarantee him at least the 3rd down back role early on. There isn’t a major commitment to any of the other backs on the roster, which should mean that if Allen shows well in camp that he has a good chance at starting.
These are obviously the aforementioned Forsett and Taliaferro. Reports currently indicate Forsett will receive the majority of the goal line work, thus stealing some of Allen’s potential production. Even still, Allen is elusive enough to get loose and score from from anywhere on the field. Forsett did show well last season but his 1,266 yards were almost as many as his career total up to that point (1,692). He’ll probably make the final roster thanks to a cheap price tag, but it’s hard to envision him holding off Allen for the long term.
I see Allen finding his way to the field quickly and the Ravens finding plenty of snaps for him. Even with a 50/50 split with Forsett, Allen is the better receiver and blocker, which means he should get most of the hurry-up snaps as well. The fact he can do multiple things well only increases his chances of seeing the field early and often. His value obviously goes up in PPR leagues. I hate assigning numbers to projections, but I would expect his production to be in line with his ADP.
Barring injury, Allen should be the main man in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. Ozzie Newsome is widely considered to be the best general manager in football, and while I could see him bring in other running backs as depth, Allen’s skill set fits so nicely with Trestman’s offense, that I have a hard time seeing Baltimore spending a high draft pick to replace him. He should be a PPR low RB1, high RB2 for the majority of his career, providing there isn’t a major overhaul of the Baltimore coaching staff.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Allen to former Raven Bernard Pierce in his combine profile. I actually see him more along the lines of former Chicago Bears running back Neal Anderson. Like Allen, Anderson was a good receiver out of the back field with speed and explosiveness, but could lack vision. Allen is 10 pounds heavier than Anderson was during his playing days
Rookie Draft Advice
Allen is currently being drafted 25th overall, placing him squarely on the second/third round bubble. If you can land him in the mid- to late-third round, you have done very well for yourself. As training camps moves along, I would expect Allen’s ADP to begin to rise, once people see what he looks like in preseason games, you may have to start targeting him in the mid- to late-second round to land him. With his talent plus a solid opportunity in front of him, I would select Allen with confidence.