The Atlanta Falcons have selected Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen with the 147th pick in the NFL Draft.
Allen finished the 2013 season with six interceptions, but is undersized for the position. At 5-9 and 187-pounds, Allen is naturally limited against most NFL receivers. He was a four year starter and his experience shows.
Despite his limitations, Allen never seemed to suffer due to his size. He is a fearless corner who is more than willing to throw his body into a tackles and will take down running backs when necessary. Allen finished his career with 14.5 tackles for losses.
Allen’s best attribute is his ball skills. He is exceptional at locating the pass and attacking it. He had 13 interceptions in his career and holds a school record for most INTs returned for touchdowns at four.
Allen has very good instincts and is rarely manipulated by ball fakes. He doesn’t have great recovery speed and can be burnt by players who have top end speed and are quality route runners. Allen makes very good pre-snap reads and easily diagnoses routes.
Overall, Allen is a better football player than his athleticism and measurables would indicate. He will likely be lined up against slot receivers, at least early on, and should find a niche in that role. He was positioned all over the field in college and has experience lining up inside and out.
If Allen were taller and more physically imposing, he would have been a lock for a second or early third round selection. He has everything you want in a corner, except for the tangible attributes.
The Falcons will welcome a smart corner with good instincts. Atlanta needs help all over its defense and Allen will make a solid contribution in 2014.