Entering the 2012 NFL Draft, one of the positions the New York Giants will be looking long and hard at it tight end. Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen could be available for the Giants in the second or third round if they decide to address the position early.
Even after signing Martellus Bennett away from the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants could be looking at a tight end early. Jake Ballard is out for the season after tearing his ACL and undergoing mircofracture surgery following the Super Bowl. Travis Beckum, who finally began to flash some of what the Giants saw in him in the playoffs also tore his ACL in the Super Bowl but he believes he will be back by the start of the year. The Giants also have Bear Pascoe, Christian Hopkins, Larry Donnell, and Ryan Purvis on the roster but only Pascoe has seen significant time on the playing field at the NFL level.
Dwayne Allen was considered the best all-around tight end coming into the draft before the NFL Combine. However, some scouts were disappointed from what they saw from him. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.89 seconds and was mediocre in his 20-yard shuttle drill with a 4.37 and was pretty awful in his 3-cone drill with a 7.12 time. Personally, I am not a huge fan of combine numbers and I don’t think they always translate to performance on the field.
Allen has a good build at 6-3, 255 pounds. He has long arms and decent sized hands which he will use to catch balls thrown over his head in traffic. He needs to work on his route running and corner his routes more than round them as he did in college. He is athletic and can make some catches that other, traditional tight ends won’t be able to make. Once he catches the ball he is tough to bring down, using his big legs to drive into contact. He lowers his pad level when he senses contact and smaller defensive backs will have trouble with him if he gets into the secondary.
He can be a factor in the running game, helping move piles as a blocker or getting downfield to lay into a defensive back or two. He needs some work with his footwork as a blocker, especially when asked to stay back in pass protection where an edge rusher or larger opponent can make him look foolish at times. With proper coaching he should be able to learn the nuances of blocking at the NFL level. He won’t be Howard Cross but he could be capable.
Allen is one of those guys who looks faster than he is on tape. Some players tend to get up more for gameday than a scouting combine. I think Allen is one of those players. His game films look like he would run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 rather than 4.8.
Allen isn’t as sexy of a pick as Stanford TE Coby Fleener but he is NFL ready and could line up opposite Martellus Bennett in two-tight end sets and exploit a defense over the middle every now and then.
If the Giants don’t draft Fleener in the first round he will probably be gone by the time their turn comes around again in round two. Allen, however, could still be there in the second round and he would be worthy of a second round pick for Big Blue.