Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue (HT: 5’9⅛”; WT: 187 lbs.)
Fifth Round: 147th Pick
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- Extremely quick in short areas and laterally. He is able to make up significant yards, especially coming back to the ball when defending comebacks and curl routes.
- A physical mindset that translates into his pass defense and run support. He’s a very willing tackler and finishes most attempted tackles.
- Good route recognition and anticipation during coverage helped him intercept a career-high six passes in 2013. He roams zones well because he’s able to use his instincts and trust his eyes.
- Keeps his eyes on the quarterback throughout the play better than any defensive back in the 2014 draft class. This leads to turnover opportunities that most corners wouldn’t have.
- Effective run-blitzer from multiple positions of the field. There were times he lined up as a linebacker and delayed blitzed through open gaps to make tackles for loss. He showed the ability to occasionally blitz off of the edge against the pass as well.
- Excellent zone ball skills because he has good eye-discipline and good feel for where the receiver is going to break on routes.
- Makes compact movements, which is a benefit of having a smaller frame. He has quick feet and good balance, giving him the ability to react almost instantly.
- Had to burden a bigger responsibility than most prospects, as Purdue’s defense was lacking talents at most positions. Opposing offenses routinely threw the ball away from his side of the field.
- Allen was a four-year starter, gaining great experience, and is a well-refined player at this point. He is going to be a plug-and-play type of player, requiring little technique work in a zone-heavy scheme.
- Allen is small for an NFL cornerback. Usually, a defensive back his size is going to be pigeonholed as a nickelback, but Allen’s skill set is one of a boundary cornerback. Most corners his size don’t last long as a boundary, but guys like Miami’s Brent Grimes do give Allen a chance.
- He has short arms and limited functional strength, so chances are slim he can play press-man coverage. Bigger receivers are able to move him with ease when battling for jump balls or back-shoulder fade routes. That will be even more difficult for him to defend in the NFL.
- Lacks plus speed for an NFL defender, clocking in at a 4.61 at the NFL combine. For a zone cornerback, that’s OK, but it limits his versatility.
- He struggles shedding blocks despite great effort. Again, he’s physically limited in this area, and his projected ceiling is also going to be limited.
- Second-team All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2013
- Former 3-star recruit from Daytona Beach, Florida
- Graduating with a degree in general health sciences
- Twitter handle is @Ricardo21Allen
Allen is a player that may have maxed out while at Purdue, but he can find success in the NFL because of his great feel for the game. He’s going to need to go to a zone-heavy defensive scheme and isn’t likely to start because of his size, but his mentality and skills will keep him on an NFL depth chart.
Draft Projection: Fifth Round