Has good speed to challenge down the seam and make plays vertically or on the intermediate routes. Does a nice job getting up to speed with a good release when working out of the slot. Flashes the burst to separate from coverage on the out patterns. Has decent burst after the catch, and is able to slip some tackles. Uses his size and strength well and will drag defenders and fight for extra yards there. Consistently catches the ball away from his body. Has very good body control and can adjust to the high throws. Has good length and ball skills to go up over a defender in traffic to make the grab. ALso has the body control to adjust to the high throw and then get his feet down along the sideline. Works well on the scramble drill as he can quickly transition from receiver to blocker for a mobile quarterback. Able to get the seal on the edge when working as an H-back. Is comfortable releasing downfield and getting position in space against a defensive back. Able to work in pass protection and square up a rusher off the edge. Shows some potential as an inline blocker, able to get his hands inside and lock onto a defender.
Doesn't have burner or dynamic speed. Can be slow to release off the line as an inline tight end, and take a bit to build speed there. Doesn't always show consistent hands. Will have lapses in concentration, letting some throws get into his body on occasion. Also won't always get position when in traffic with a defender draped over him. Doesn't consistently attack the ball there which can lead to some drops. DOesn't always secure the ball before turning upfield to run after the catch. Struggles to adjust in space when working as a lead blocker at the H-back position. Misses too many assignments both as a run blocker and pass protector there. Needs to do a better job bending his knees and get better hand placement when blocking inline to be more effective there.
Allen is a solid receiver with a lot of upside to be a top-level pass catcher at the next level. He's not a poor blocker, but still needs a lot of polish. He predominantly works at the H-back position out of the backfield for Clemson, but gets numerous opportunities to work in the slot, where he's probably at his best at. He's not bad as an inline tight end, but at least early on that probably won't be his forte. He's a player that I think was hurt somewhat by having an inaccurate QB in Tajh Boyd, because I believe he had to work a lot more than he needed to make some grabs throughout the year. But he's a fairly reliable pass catcher, or at least should be with a better QB on the next level, and I think has the potential to improve and become a competent blocker as well.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(10/1) at Virginia Tech: 9 targets, 4 rec., 75 yds (18.8 avg), 72 YAC (18.0 avg), 1 TDs, 0 drops; 1 missed block, Lead Block: 0/1
(10/22) vs. North Carolina: 11 tgt., 6 rec., 51 yds (8.5 avg), 12 YAC (2.0 avg), 1 TD, 2 drops; 2 key blocks, 1 pressure, 1 QB hit, Lead Block: 0/1; 1 penalty (holding)
(1/5) vs. West Virginia: 5 tgt., 1 rec., 6 yds, 2 YAC, 0 TDS, 2 drops; 1 missed block, 1 pressure; Lead Block: 1/3; 1 penalty (personal foul)
2011: 14 GP/14 GS, 50 catches, 598 yds, 12.0 avg, 8 TDs
Allen has a lot of potential, and I think how quickly he translates to the NFL and whether he reaches that potential will depend on the sort of scheme he's in. In terms of his frame and body type, Allen looks and moves a lot like Alge Crumpler, but I think he might be a bit more Antonio Gates in him. He's not quite the off the charts elite athlete that a Gates or Vernon Davis is, but he's definitely a plus-athlete compared to most NFL tight ends. I think in an offense that won't be afraid to split him out wide and ask him to challenge down the vertical seam, and where he can get one on one matchups there because of the presence of outside threats, I think Allen would work very well in that scheme. I think it's going to take him some time to get better as a run blocker, particularly inline, but I think he flashes enough tools where he can be competent there. He won't be confused with Jason Witten by any means, but I think he can be comparable to Rob Gronkowski, where few would ever really complain about his blocking thanks in large part to his prowess as a receiver. He is comfortable playing H-back but most of his mistakes as a blocker came when he was playing that position. So I don't know if playing him there would really make him better. The inconsistency was a problem this past year at Clemson, and he did not show up in Clemson's bowl game where they were routed by West Virginia, and I think that really hurt his stock in a lot of people's eyes. But Allen is a player that I think his best football is ahead of him, especially if he goes to a team and offense that knows how to use the tight end position well. I think he has the potential to be an elite tight end on a level near Antonio Gates if he finds the right fit. He's the sort of tight end that I think can really create matchup problems at the next level, and I think like Gates or Crumpler, he has the potential to be the go-to threat in an offense. I think if he doesn't find himself in that ideal scheme, he'll still be a good player that might be a bit of a tease similar to say a player like Jared Cook. But like Cook, he'll at worst be an above average to very good tight end, that just may not put it all together to become the elite player that he clearly has the potential to be.
Antonio Gates, Chargers.
Atlanta would be a great environment for Allen to develop in, because he would have a year to learn from Tony Gonzalez and hopefully some of Gonzo's work ethic could rub off him. That could definitely help him a lot to work out the inconsistencies in his game, because that is the biggest knock on Allen. The other factor is that he'll be playing with former teammate Michael Palmer, who he backed up as a redshirt freshman and that should be a solid pair to build up for the future. Allen can come in and play some H-back for the Falcons, but also has the potential to be developed as an inline tight end. In Atlanta's vertical offense, he would be a great fit because he has the seam-splitting ability to make outside vertical threats like Julio Jones and Roddy White better because he can draw the safety over the top, giving them more 1-on-1 opportunities on the outside. And the same with them on the outside means that he'll get more 1-on-1 opportunities against slot corners and linebackers because the safety will have to cover the deeper routes. He'd be the type of guy that within a year or two after Gonzo's parting, the Falcons offense would probably not miss him at all. And he has the potential to be a better player than Gonzo in the Falcons offense because of his ability to generate the big play. That's not saying he'll be a better player overall than Gonzo, when accounting for his time in Kansas City, but the Gonzalez that has been in Atlanta, Allen has the potential to be better than that.
Allen is a first round talent that is a solid investment in the latter half of that round. He's probably not a sure bet to hit the ground running as some past tight ends, but because of his upside, no team should have a problem taking him in the pick No. 15 to 25 range.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Body Control: 8.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.