The Atlanta Falcons continue to add depth in this year's draft. This time, they bring in secondary depth with Ricardo Allen out of Purdue in the fifth round. Allen makes a lot of sense as a special teams and nickel cornerback fit. He also fits into the toughness mantra Atlanta has been chanting all offseason.
Allen will end up having to compete for a role near the bottom of the Falcons cornerback depth chart. As it sits right now, he's going to battle with Robert McClain, Javier Arenas and Josh Wilson just to make the roster. If he does make the roster, he won't see much playing time.
Atlanta took Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant in 2013 and should look at Allen as a long-term fit for depth behind those two studs. Allen could also turn into a long-term nickel corner because Wilson and Arenas are both on just one-year deals.
On the Field
Allen is extremely instinctual on the field and makes plays on the ball. He's able to play well in zone and off man because he reads the routes perfectly and makes sure to have his eyes on the quarterback instead of on the receiver he's covering.
He's more quick than fast and doesn't have the top-end speed needed to be a great outside cornerback. However, with his ball skills and run defense, he should prove to be a good fit for the Falcons at nickel. He's a great run defender and solid tackler.
He takes good angles to the ball and is able to blitz against the run unlike most cornerbacks. The Falcons will get a good special teams player here too. He's a four-year starter who profiles similar to former Falcon Brent Grimes on the field.
Off the Field
Allen was clean off the field with no arrests or suspensions. He was a team captain both in high school and in college. On the surface, he looks like the ideal Falcons pick off the field. He seems like a hard-working team leader and versatile four-year starter in a major BCS conference.
Why Ricardo Allen instead of Arthur Lynch or Ed Reynolds?
Arthur Lynch would have been a great pick for someone to compete with last year's compensatory fourth-round pick, Levine Toilolo. He is a good blocker and solid receiver who continually improves every season as a receiver.
Ed Reynolds is a natural safety and second-round value who slipped quite a bit despite being a playmaker. Reynolds could have made a lot of sense at No. 68 overall in the third round over Southward, but Atlanta even passed up on him here.
Allen is a great fit for a nickel cornerback in the Falcons defense. He'll have to beat Arenas or Wilson out for a roster spot, though. With his talent on special teams, he could very well do just that when all is said and done.
For more information on Ricardo Allen, check out Ian Wharton‘s scouting report on him.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.