Denicos Allen NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report and More

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Denicos Allen (28) reacts to a play during the 2nd half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Denicos Allen, OLB, Michigan (Height: 5’11”, Weight: 218 lbs)



NFL Comparison: Barry Church, Safety, Dallas Cowboys


  • Diagnoses plays and reacts to what he sees well. 
  • Quick first step to click and close. 
  • Can chase from sideline to sideline and make tackles all over the field. 
  • Anticipates routes to accelerate at route breaks and close down space quickly. 
  • Has adequate speed to trail and limit separation in man coverage. 
  • Will get physical with receivers to disrupt their release. 
  • Has natural leverage when taking on blocks and is a small, elusive target for blockers. 
  • Comes downhill like a missile as a run defender and is very aggressive. 
  • Accelerates to burst through holes and cause disruption in the backfield as a run-blitzer. 
  • Made plays in the backfield at a very high rate for a traditional linebacker. 
  • Closes down space when taking on lead blocks; has no hesitation. 
  • Hard-nosed player who is not afraid to scrap with bigger opponents. 
  • Plays with an admiral level of effort and a high motor. 
  • Durable as a college linebacker despite lack of ideal size or build.



  • Severely undersized in terms of height, length, and weight. 
  • May be as big as he will ever get. 
  • Not as exceptional an athlete as he must be at his size. 
  • Too short to adequately challenge the catch point against most NFL pass-catchers. 
  • Ineffective blitzer if not left unblocked; doesn’t have length to challenge pass-blockers with his hands. 
  • Does a poor job of maintaining balance in run fits; ends up on the ground without taking on blocks at times. 
  • Can be physically overwhelmed taking on blocks and can’t hold his ground. 
  • Doesn’t do enough to elude blocks in the short area to make up for lack of strength. 
  • Tends to drop his head on contact and lose sight of the football. 
  • Gets easily lost in the congestion against heavier offensive packages. 
  • Often leaves his feet in tackle attempts or dives at the knees; will miss tackles. 
  • Little power as a tackler to limit yards after contact; gets dragged for extra yards by most backs. 
  • Play may have been lifted by the talent and schematic advantages of Michigan State’s defense.
Collegiate Statistics
2010Mich St1810000
2011Mich St8318.511030
2012Mich St79103141
2013Mich St9816.55.5110


Personal Notes

  • A 3-star prospect as a recruit in class of 2009; 39th-ranked outside linebacker by Rivals
  • Started 40 consecutive games for the Spartans. 
  • 2013 Second Team All-Big Ten. 
  • 2012 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.


Ratings Chart

Graph made at



Denicos Allen does a lot of what you want in a college linebacker.  He did yeoman’s work for one of the best defenses in college football the last two years.  Unfortunately, his physical limitations will be difficult to overcome.

If he was a few inches taller, he might project as a sub-package linebacker who specializes in coverage.  At his height, it will be tough for him in today’s NFL, where quarterbacks are increasingly willing to throw to covered receivers.  The only way for Allen to make it in the NFL is to provide lots of value on special teams.


Draft Projection: 7th Round-UDFA