Before the season started it was reported that NFL teams were intrigued with Austin Allen. Since then, all Allen has done is provide a nice security blanket for Adrian Martinez while also making some big plays along the way. After a five catches for 151 yards one touchdown peformance against Minnesota, it’s the perfect time to highlight Austin Allen in my latest Scouting Perspective.
Austin Allen is a reliable receiver not just because of his large frame, but because his soft hands that allow him to reel in nearly every pass in his vicinity. Against Minnesota Allen showed his soft hands making a couple of catches running towards the sideline in addition to his 40 yard catch down the middle of the field.
And while Allen shows that he can make the routine catches, it’s his ability to adjust that really stood out. During the second quarter Allen made a tough catch on an in breaking route over the middle in traffic where Adrian put the ball high for Allen to get. Allen was able to go up and high point the ball but then also hold on despite taking a big hit. And then at the end of the game Allen made his highlight reel catch for a touchdown as he was able to make the catch despite the defensive back having a hold of his right arm.
Because Austin Allen is so tall, it is going to really limit him as a blocker as he isn’t able to get the leverage needed to move or even control smaller defenders. Allen is at his best when he’s able to engage and occupy defenders. Against Minnesota Allen did a good job of walling off defenders. On one play he cut across the formation to trap the defensive end and allow Johnson to get to the second level. Later in the game he was able to get out in space and occupy the defensive back on another long Johnson run.
To play tight end in the NFL having top end speed is not nearly as important as being able to make quick changes of direction at the top of your route. On the tape Allen doesn’t look like a bad athlete, but I wouldn’t say he is overly quick. Too often when he has to make a hard change of direction cut he will lose speed. Most of Allen’s big catches have either him being schemed open or him running to an open area.
Already on the NFL’s radar, Austin Allen’s performance this season has solidified him as a draftable prospect. But that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to hear his name called on April 30th. On average only 13 tight ends get drafted each year and those taken in the later rounds are often basketball players looking to convert or projects that have good athleticism.
Allen has talent but he’ll likely need an impressive performance at the Nebraska Pro Day to be drafted. From there Allen will need to impress at OTA’s and training camp to earn a roster spot. With his skill set he has the makings of a 3rd or 4th tight end that also plays on special teams units.