Cowboys Draft: 1-On-1 With Darius Allen
With the signing of Greg Hardy, some people have crossed edge rusher off the list of Dallas Cowboys needs heading into the draft. However, it's not that simple. Hardy is on just a one-year deal. If he has a big year in 2015, his price tag could be much higher than the Cowboys wish to spend. Jeremy Mincey is also in the final year of his contract. While at first glance it seems like the Cowboys are set at edge rusher, it's pretty clear they still need some more help there in the long-term.
The shuffle never stops. The Cowboys have released Amobi Okoye, despite his incredible comeback from illness. They are turning over rocks in Europe to find UK product Efe Obada. That leaves the Cowboys looking at some intriguing highly-ranked guys, like UCLA's Owa Odighizuwa, but what about prospects that they can develop? One such prospect is CSU Pueblo pass rusher Darius Allen.
"I don't look at myself as being a small school guy," Allen told CowboysHQ in an exclusive interview. "I've had a lot of success in my career, more so than a lot of D-1 guys, in my opinion. I put in the work and I can't dwell on the fact that I slid under the radar. No one knows what the NFL teams are thinking right now. I just have to continue to train and become a better person and a better player and get myself ready."
CBS draft expert Dane Brugler described Allen as the Randy Gregory of D-II. Gregory is considered by many to be the best pass rusher from D-1 schools. The same can be said for Allen for D-II schools - recording 31 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries and 46.5 tackles for a loss in the last 2 seasons.
"I've had a lot of success in my career," Allen said. "I've won 48 games in my college career. Not a lot of guys can say that. I'm a winner. I bring a winning attitude. I'm a hard-working person. Whether I'm under the radar or a D-1 player coming in as a first-round pick, you can be out of the league within two months if you don't put in the work. If I end up being drafted by the Cowboys, I'm going to bring hard work ethic and a winning attitude to the organization."
One question mark for Allen is, "Where do you play him?" Allen was a 4-3 defensive end in his junior year at CSU-Pueblo before switching to a 3-4 defensive end for his senior year due to lack of depth on the defensive line. Some analysts think he's better suited for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Allen thinks his best position is 4-3 DE, which is what he would play in Dallas if the Cowboys end up drafting him. But that's not to say he didn't gain valuable experience from playing other positions.
"Obviously I most likely wouldn't play 3-4 defensive end in the NFL because those are usually 300 pound guys in that spot," Allen said, laughing. "But I got a lot of experience from playing that position and became more physical. Hopefully teams will see that and it will help me."
It has definitely helped him. While casual fans might not know who Allen is yet, teams are starting to take notice of his potential. One of those teams is the Dallas Cowboys, who attended his Pro Day and took some time to get to know him.
"The Cowboys just wanted to know what I can bring to the organization," Allen said. "They already know about me on the field from the tape, so they want to know exactly what I can bring to the organization as a person. They mainly asked a lot of personal questions. Hopefully they liked me."
As it turns out, the Cowboys do like him. In fact, they liked him so much that they have invited him to Valley Ranch for another, more in-depth pre-Draft visit. Regardless of where he ends up though, Darius Allen has high hopes for himself in his rookie season.
"Personally, my goal in my rookie season is to get my team to believe in me," Allen said enthusiastically. "I want to get on the field in minicamp and outshine all of the other guys. I want to earn a position on the roster and be a key contributor for a team that can win a championship. I want to win. I'll be a player that will talk to the veterans and express my concerns if I have any. I'm a winner and I like to win. That's my No. 1 goal in my rookie season."
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