Pros: Very smart and reads plays quickly. Has good size and speed for the position, and closes very quickly on ball-carriers once he reads run, pass or screen. Has good pop as a hitter but is also a very reliable wrap-up tackler, and fills very well against the run from his safety position. He reads QB’s eyes very well and is a ball-hawk in the secondary, and plays the Center-Field position well. He has good ball skills and closes well to make a break on the ball to deflect or intercept the pass.
Cons: Doesn’t look great in man coverage and doesn’t have very good ability to turn and run with a receiver in man coverage when in the slot. Does much better in zone. Will miss tackles in the open field at times when he flies to the ball too quickly or when he takes a bad angle. Doesn’t have a lot of upside because he is fundamentally sound.
Overall: Allen is a safety I have liked all year and I am glad he is still going to be drafted in the 2nd or maybe 3rd round. I like him a lot because he plays smart and is rarely out of position, and reads and reacts to plays very quickly. He is a guy who plays smart and his physical ability, such as his good closing burst, complement his ability to play fast and smart. His physical ability isn’t a crutch for his lackluster recognition skills, so that is great to see. He is a reliable tackler and fills well versus the run, and is very reliable in coverage as a center fielder and is rarely caught out of position, but has good recovery speed to make up for it when he is caught out of position. He will need some coaching at the next level, but I think he can contribute as a rookie because he is so fundamentally sound, making him pretty NFL ready. He doesn’t have an abundance of upside though, so his ceiling is probably a safety who ends up with 2-4 interceptions a year, plays good coverage over the top, rarely gives up big plays and supports the run effectively. He won’t be a Pro-Bowler, but he could be a very effective cog in a good defense, and can develop into the leader of his secondary because he will know where everyone is supposed to be and what they are supposed to do. His floor is that he will be a solid safety and may be a #3 safety on some teams, rotating in either from injuries or because he is good in coverage and playing special teams.
Projection: 2nd-early 3rd round: Safeties slide a bit in the draft and Allen doesn’t have the most upside of any Safety in the draft, but he is a relatively safe pick because he is fundamentally sound, plays very smart and has good intangibles. That will make him attractive to some teams, particularly teams who love players with those characteristics, and teams who could use a NFL ready FS who won’t make mistakes that will cost them big plays and maybe even games. I really think Nate Allen will be a good safety in the NFL, and I have for a long time. Maybe not a Pro-Bowler, but a good safety.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BALL SKILLS: 3.5
Pudge it always weirds me out when we have very similar or the exact same numerical grades for a player. lol
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