Indianapolis Colts 2013 Breakout Candidate: Dwayne Allen
Sometimes it’s hard to predict just how a particular player will translate to the NFL. Tight end Dwayne Allen was chosen a round later than fellow position mate Coby Fleener in the 2012 NFL Draft in rounds two and three respectively. Allen went on to show that it really doesn’t matter what round you were selected in; once you get out on an NFL field, the playing field is completely level.
Even though Fleener had the inside track with fellow rookie starting quarterback Andrew Luck throwing to him throughout his collegiate career at Stanford, Allen was the one who emerged as Luck’s top tight end target last season. Fleener’s injury struggles certainly didn’t help his cause, but the fact of the matter is Allen just had a better season.
In 2013, it’s hard to see his level of production going anywhere but up. Allen really didn’t see much action until Week 3 last season, but once he found his spot on the field, the team just couldn’t take him out of the lineup. There was a reason why Allen won the NCAA’s John Mackey Award given to the nation’s top tight end while at Clemson. His complete game as opposed to Fleener’s more wide receiver-esque tight end style lends itself better to playing on all three downs.
Allen’s 45 catches for 521 yards a season ago with three touchdowns were quite solid numbers considering it came in 14 games of solid action. For a rookie adjusting to the NFL game, the only way to go is up in his second year. His drop rate of just 6.25 ranked 11th among all tight ends in the league last season which illustrates the reliability that gained Luck’s trust as the season progressed.
No matter what kind of spin you want to put on it, Allen will be a productive player in 2013. He should be a viable Fantasy Football option at the tight end position and provide the Colts with a reliable red zone target as well. His touchdowns will see a significant increase from the three he had a year ago, and there’s no reason to think that Allen won’t be Luck’s go-to check-down guy this season.
A tight end is often called a quarterback’s best friend; Luck and Allen could be BFF’s as far as I’m concerned.