April 23, 2011; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini offensive lineman Jeff Allen (71) during the annual Orange and Blue spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Heinz-US PRESSWIRE

Mel Kiper Thinks Atlanta Falcons Will Draft Jeff Allen In Second Round

As we move closer to the 2012 NFL Draft, we take yet another look at a possible target for the Atlanta Falcons with their first pick, which comes in the second round.

This time however, we have a professional opinion as to who the Falcons should take with their No. 55 overall pick. That opinion is from Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s resident draft guru. In his Two Round Insider Mock Draft, he says that he feels that Atlanta may be wise to take Allen. According to Kiper “The Falcons have a need here, and Allen could help early on the right side with upside at left.” Allen would be an easy fit at left-tackle if Clabo suffered an injury, and he also has the potential to start at LT if things go well.

He is listed on both National Football Post and CBSSports.com as an offensive tackle, but if you read further, both say that he needs to move inside to guard in order to play in the NFL. That’s not completely out of the realm of possibility for the Falcons, as they had a revolving door at right guard in 2011. While he could certainly compete, its not like the job would without doubt be his, and he would be competing with Garrett Reynolds, Mike Johnson, Andrew Jackson, and Vince Manuwai for the job at that position. Maybe one of the roster incumbents will win the job leaving Allen  as only depth for the position. It is something that is needed, but depth and starting talent at offensive tackle is far more valuable and necessary for this Falcons team.

The question then is whether or not Allen is capable of playing LT, or any tackle position in the League. He only threw up 26 reps of 225 on bench press at the combine, which is fairly low for a good offensive lineman. It doesn’t mean he is terrible, but its a sign that his arms are not his strength. However, his footwork in pass protection is fantastic, and everyone seems to think that he has a great first step against edge rushers, moves very well laterally and doesn’t give up ground too easily. He can anchor himself against the bull-rush, but again his arms become a problem; rather than holding them at bay with his arms, he allows them to get into him body and then gives up too much ground to opposing defensive linemen. He isn’t great is run blocking, but I don’t think the Falcons will exactly be asking him to do a tremendous amount of run blocking. Just for an idea of how strong 26 reps on the bench still is, when Tyson Clabo was at the Combine, he tossed up 24 reps. Obviously he bounced around a bit, but there is no denying his talent now.

Allen could be worth drafting, but he could also go lower. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he were to land with the Falcons in the 3rd round. He may not last that long, but Allen is a player who really worries me. Most of the picks that we have highlighted here have a shot at starting at LT in the NFL; most sources recommend moving him to guard. I don’t think Allen is necessarily good enough to start at tackle, and I’m not sure he is strong enough to beat out the talent already on the Falcons roster at guard.

 

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