Indianapolis has shown interest in San Diego State linebacker Russell Allen, according to Scout.com Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson. Allen, more of a middle linebacker prospect for the Colts, has flown under the radar so far and was not invited to the Combine.
Allen is currently not ranked in the linebacker rankings — either outside or inside linebacker — on Scout.com and is not ranked among the top 300 prospects in the database, which would tend to deem him to be undraftable. However, the recent attention that has been paid to him by NFL scouts from the Colts and other organizations may catapult him into the rankings.
Add to that his college production — 375 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, four sacks, 13 passes defended, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 48 games — and there's a prospect that could make a lot of noise come draft time.
San Diego State's Russell Allen
AP Photo/Denis Poroy
A number of teams may be projecting him at outside linebacker, where his size — almost 6-feet-3 and weighing in at 235 pounds — and tackling ability would be an asset, but his speed, clocked at 4.73 in the 40, could be a liability.
However, his size makes him taller than Gary Brackett (5-feet-11) and at the same weight, so the Colts may be looking at him as an inside linebacker, as their scheme calls for smaller, more mobile players. The only issue with Allen would be with his speed, since the Cover 2 scheme that Indianapolis deploys requires that their middle linebackers cover a great deal of ground.
With an improved time at his Pro Day on March 21, Allen could improve himself in the estimation of the Indianapolis scouts, but the caveat there is that he also improves his standing among all scouts in the NFL. Given that San Diego State has a reputation for uncovering gems in the NFL draft in spite of their NCAA standing, there are a number of teams that, even if they are not meeting with Allen, are keeping an eye on him.
A strong workout by Allen will alert other teams and outlets of his presence and possibly move him into a position to be drafted. But, another productive undersized college player slipped through the draft last season in Jordan Senn, who the Colts signed as an undrafted free agent.
Indianapolis can hope that he signs with them under similar circumstances, but if the Colts really want him, it would be wise for them to take him towards the end of the draft for insurance purposes.
Allen projects as a strong prospect to eventually replace Brackett — also an undrafted free agent — as the team's middle linebacker. If Indianapolis sees similar attributes in Allen that they saw in Brackett — Bill Polian was in charge when they signed Brackett following the 2003 draft — then it would make sense to take Allen late in ensure that the Colts would be able to sign him.
If not, a player with Allen's abilities and nose for the ball would be a welcome addition to the annual class of undrafted free agents that, if nothing else, contributes on special teams. That is provided they sign him in the frenetic hours following the draft.