This pick, at first, was very disappointing to me in the least. I was hoping for Cordy Glenn (went to Buffalo), Amini Silatolu (went to Carolina), or even Peter Konz (went to Atlanta). To me looking at his scouting report, I was rather disappointed as I wanted a mauler, a real brute that will hit someone hard. His scouting report was anything but. Said he was undersized, didn't play with power, pass-blocking specialist, tended to absorb hits as opposed to delivering them. Nothing that I like to hear. But doing some more research, I learned some things. He has reportedly grown as a player (both physically and mentally) very much. He has gained 10-15 pounds since the season ended and Illini fans will tell you Mikel LeShoure's 2010 season was largely in part to Allen's blocking. Reporters at the Senior Bowl report he was playing like a mad man and was incredibly psyched up, like he would strike someone in the face at the slightest provocation.
So, without further ado let's get to the analysis. My very first full, 4 quarter analysis. (BTW, if it means anything, Mercilus has quite the game. One 3rd and 14 on UCLA's opening drive, he has the best jumped snap I have ever seen! Houston does a good job in the draft, once again.)
Initial thoughts: Not built necessarily gigantic, at 6'4, 310-315 pounds. But he's squat and thick. Could probably stand to put on a few pounds, but still had a good bench press result with 26 reps, which is probably about average. Team leader, started on a VERY good offensive line as a freshman. Has never gotten in trouble with the law, only one on the field incident in which he was ejected for ramming his helmet into an opponent after a knockdown.
Thing that made this analysis HARD AS HELL to do is that Jeff literally plays at a different position every play. He'll be LT one play, LG the next, RG, RT. He's everywhere, which is a good thing. The only guy I've seen this from otherwise was Jason Peters when he was in Buffalo (Except he'd even line up at TE sometimes).
Had 113 knockdown blocks in 2011, and was All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Opponent: UCLA (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl), DE Datone Jones and DT Seali'i Epenesa. Allen plays LT, RT, RG and LG this game.
Play 1: LT. Shows quick feet and delivers a powerful forearm punch that knocks the DE back onto his heels. The QB gets like 8 seconds in the pocket before he throws it to the back for a 3 yard gain.
Play 2: LT. Rears back and hits the DE and gets under his pads. The QB draw to the right doesn't work and he's dropped for a 2 yard loss.
Play 3: RT. Good showing. Forces his defender back inside to the guard and with the space Allen gives him the QB begins to scramble. Allen blindsides a DE who was coming across the field to try and make the tackle. 8 yard gain. Punt.
Play 4: RG. Gets good leverage and grabs the DE inside. Uses the defenders movement against him and drives him backwards like 7 yards down field, back goes for 5 on his left hip.
Play 5: RG. Hits the DE to help the RT direct him outside then goes to the second level and delivers a hit to a linebacker. He continues to deliver blows a bit after the whistle and the LB gets frustrated and the two exchange words.
Play 6: LT. Shows good hand placement as despite a very quick swim move by the DE he delivers a punch to the defenders exposed midsection and is able to envelop the DE as the QB throws for a first down.
Play 7: RT. Well-designed play by the Illini coaching staff. Allen chips the DE inside on what seems like a screen to the WR, but Allen and the RG go out to the flats and the WR tosses it back to the QB. Allen sprints downfield and engages a safety, but a good read by the LB prevents a touchdown. 9 yard gain.
Play 8: RT. Clamps onto a good jump by the DE and is able to keep him away from the QB. QB passes to the WR who drops an easy pass, and the pass is then intercepted.
Play 9: RG. Pushes the DT back into the center then goes and buries a linebacker. Unfortunately the center can't handle the DT and the DT makes the tackle at the LOS on an RB run.
Play 10: RG: The DT gets a good jump on the ball and options for a no-nonsense bullrush. Allen's wide, thick base and natural girth is able to absorb the blow, but he slowly has to back up into the QB because he loses the leverage battle. The QB tries to toss it to the WR on a fly but overthrows him.
Play 11: RT. DE shoots straight up the field but Allen gives him a nice shove and throws him off of his route. QB sees a big hole between RG and RT and takes off for the first down.
Play 12: LT. Screen, so he only holds his block for a moment. The DE goes up to swat the pass down but Allen delivers a punch to an exposed midsection and the defender puts his hands down before he can swat the ball down. LB's fly to the ball however and the tackle is made behind the LOS.
Play 13: LT. DE attempts a bullrush but Allen stonewalls him. DE attempts a swim move but Allen stops him. No pressure from the left side at all but the pass to the TE is incomplete. Punt.
Play 14: RT: Takes advantage of an off balance DE and shoves him onto his back. Strikes him down as he's trying to get back up. Nice showing of a mean streak.
Play 15: LT. Holds up the DE who wasn't really rushing the passer. QB passes for a first down.
Play 16: RG. Delivers a hit to the DT and is forced to block both the DE and DT as a safety blitzes and the RT wants to block him. Does a nice job and handles both for about 3 seconds when the QB throws incomplete.
Play 17: RT. Walls the DE away from the play and the back picks up 5 yards off of a LT off-tackle run.
Play 18: LG. Defends against a bullrush with a strong lean and push. Maneuvers the DT outside and teh QB runs for the first down between LG and C.
Play 19: RT. Shuffles his feet quickly as the DE shoots upfield, but when he tries to cut back inside he keeps with it. QB throws incomplete.
Play 20: LG. Pulls around and floors a linebacker with a forearm shot. 4 yard gain. Gotta say, I love how he asserts his size over the smaller guys.
Play 21: RG. Stunt by the DE and DT. DE tries to shoot the gap but Allen tosses him out of the hole. QB throws for the first.
Play 22: RG. Gets under the pads of a blitzing linebacker and tosses him away from the ball. QB runs 5 yards off LT.
Play 23: RT. DE draws the play out, but Allen uses a quick move and pushes him away from the ball. QB has a hole and runs for 2 yards.
Play 24: RT. DE bullrushes and catches Allen off guard. RG helps Allen as the QB throws to a receiver for a first down. However, the referee calls it an incomplete pass which it most certainly is not. Challenge, win. 4th and 1.
Play 25: RT. Big collision between him and the DT, that ultimately ends in a stalemate. LG cannot hold his block and RB is tackled at the LOS. Turnover on downs.
Play 26: LG. Forces the DT inside and the QB goes for 15 yards off of LT.
Play 27: LT. Absorbs the hit by the DE but fails to engage him well. DE makes the tackle for a 1 yard loss.
Play 28: LT. Gets under the DE's pads with one arm and flips him over onto the ground. QB makes a dangerous throw over the middle that's swatted down.
Play 29: RG. UCLA brings a heavy blitz and Allen is able to stuff the DT and deliver a hit to a linebacker, but the QB has to throw the ball to a receiver quickly. Incomplete, Punt.
Play 30: LG. Wins the leverage battle against the DT and pushes him back, but the RB bumps into his baack and bounces off. 2 yard gain.
Play 31: RG. Gets great explosion off the line and stands up the DT. Shoves him downfield 5 yards and the back goes 7 yards off the center's left hip.
Play 32: RT. DE tries a quick spins move but Allen isn't fooled and stands up up. QB rolls out, but is forced to toss it away, Field Goal.
Play 33: RT. QB Draw, and Allen redirects the DE's momentum off to the side. 4 yard gain off Allen's left hip.
Play 34: LG. Comes off the ball tenaciously and BURIES a linebacker, then continues downfield to engage a DB. RB goes 12 yard right on Allen's butt.
Play 35: LT. Engulfs the DE and shields the QB with his girth. 3 yards QB draw off the RG's hip.
Play 34: LG. Delivers a HUGE punch to the DT and knocks him backwards, QB throws for the first down. Inside the 5 yard line.
Play 35: LT. Takes two defenders inside and opens a massive hole. QB goes 3 yards on a draw.
Play 36: RT. Gets bullrushed backwards, but it opens a hole as his frame blocks the DE's vision. RB goes for 1 yard.
Play 37: RT. Holds up his guy, but the safety blitzes and the back can't block him. Sacked for a 17 yard loss. Field Goal.
Play 38: RG. Gets to the second level and pancakes a linebacker. RB goes for 8 yards behind Allen. Holding on an RT and facemask, offset.
Play 39: LT. Allen is playing angry after the penalty and delivers a big hit to the DE and tossing him to the sideline. WR drops the pass.
Play 40: RT. Engages the DE but the DE cuts back and goes inside, QB scrambles for 1 yard.
Play 41: RT. Blitzing linebacker is stonewalled by Allen. QB throws first down.
Play 42: LT. Holds up the DE, RB goes for 2 yards.
Play 43: LT. Pulls and hits the second level. DT gets passed the RG and makes the tackle behind the line.
Play 44: Loses the leverage battle but his base and girth defend against the bullrush. QB overthrows the WR.
Play 45: LG. Goes out for the WR screen but QB opts for another pass for 9 yards.
Play 46: RT. Blasts the DE and tears open a hole for the QB draw first down.
Play 47: LT. Defends against the speed rush well. Five yard pass.
Play 48: LT. Goes to the second level and engages a DB. QB scrambles 4 yards.
Play 49: LT. Doesn't get the jump right and isn't able to divert the DE who is slanting in. QB goes up the gut for a first down, still.
Play 50: RT. Somehow turns the DE around and throws him to the ground. QB goes off his hip for 10 yards.
Play 51: RT. Holds the DE down and doesn't allow pressure.
Play 52: LT. Handles the blitzing LB and the QB misses the pass.
Play 53: RT. DE stunts upfield, but a delayed blitz by the safety gets passed him. Luckily the QB evades him, btu can only scramble for 3 yards. They're going for it on 4th and 7!
Play 54: LT. DE isn't rushing, so Allen helps the center. Complete pass for a first down.
Play 55: LG. Drives the DT back, RB goes for 3 yards on his butt.
Play 56: LG. Stops the DT in his tracks, QB scrambles for 15 yards.
Play 57: LT. Doesn't get any push against the DT. Tackle at the LOS by an LB.
Play 58: Illegal substitution, 5 yards.
Play 59: RT. Sticks the DE and doesn't allow pressure. TERRIBLE throw, incomplete.
Play 60: RT. Handles the DE well, but the QB rolls out without Allen knowing. QB tosses it away. Field goal attempt, failure.
Play 61: Illinois got an INT return.
Play 62: LT. Mauls the DE and shoves him back 10 yards. 4 yard gain by the RB off the Center's left hip.
Play 63: LT. Takes the DE outside and creates a huge running lane for the QB to run for a 27 yard gain.
Play 64: RT. Pops the LB on the second level on a WR screen. Blitzing safety tackle him behind the line.
Play 65: LT. Stands up and manhandles the DE and makes a hole, but the fullback misses his block for a 3 yard gain.
Play 66: LT. WTF... Uh, I think Allen just had like 7 passing yards. He doesn't hold his block on the DE and the DE almost starts to tackle the QB, but Allen comes in and hit the DE and accidentally hits the QB and makes him fumble the ball in the air forward, which is caught by a receiver for 7 yards. Field goal.
Play 67: RG. Directs the DT outside, away from the ball. 5 yard gain off LT.
Play 68: LT. Delivers multiple quick punches and makes the DE stumble, creating a rushing lane for a first down.
Plat 69: LT: Asserts his dominance over the DE and pushes him backwards and to the right about 5 yards. 4 yard QB draw.
Play 70: LT: Gets leverage on the DE but can't get much push. RB gets stuffed at the LOS.
Play 71: LT. Makes a large and clean pocket with the rest of the O-line for about 7 seconds, then the QB passes to a receiver for about a 40 yard TD.
Play 72: Kneel.
END OF GAME!!!!
My thoughts: Allen demonstrated IMMENSE versatility. He lined up all over the place on every different play. He showed a good mean streak and loves to dominate little guys. He played physical and smart, but he sometimes failed to hold his blocks and finish them. He showed great pass-blocking and run-blocking ability, and I think his best plays where actually at guard. I also liked how he played in space.
Bold statement, he should eventually start at LG/RG this year, hopefully early. He's got a solid size advantage and is more physical. A big guy like Allen could help a promising line that has evolved into one of the best in the league.
NFL Comparison: Donald Penn. Both are versatile guys who can play guard or tackle, and both are roughly the same size. Both look much bigger than their weights would indicate (wouldn't surprise me if we found out both were actually something like 330 pounds). Both play with a mean streak, but the difference is Allen's stops at the whistle.