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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  • Diablo

    I’m not sold on this guy but would welcome him as a third round pick for depth on the oline, easily! The last thing we need is another Sam Baker on this team, so the lower we can draft him the better, especially if he needs some time to grow into a solid LT for us, in the future! I want the Falcons to get some serious depth on the defensive side of the ball a lot more than the offensive side!! We need help all over the field on defense, OLB, MLB, CB (in a big way), and both S positions imo!! I like our front four (for the most part) but we MUST get better at most of the positions behind them asap! We have to lower the amount of yardage, time, and points the defense is giving up consistently, so Ryan has more time to put points on the board imo!! If we could bring in a CB over six foot, who can be more of a shut down corner opposite Robinson (and maybe elevate HIS play as well) and not be targeted like Grimes is every game, I will be an extremely happy Falcon fan!! We could then use Grimes in our nickle & dime packages, which should help him play much better, since he will have more DB’s on the field helping him!!

  • Greg Huseth

    Couldn’t agree more. Allen is the 55th best overall prospect according to Mel Kiper, and he would fill a need, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Falcons need to draft him. Like you said, almost every position on defense needs an upgrade or proper depth, so having another backup guard isn’t super high on the priority list.