Allen Has Size, Speed To Succeed

Cortez Allen played just one year of high school ball but has the goods to develop into an NFL starter. You can never have enough good cornerbacks, as the Packers demonstrated (and the Steelers learned) during the Super Bowl.

The Green Bay Packers have selected one player from The Citadel in the previous 75 NFL drafts — running back Travis Jervey in the fifth round of the 1995 draft.

To further amplify the point that The Citadel isn't exactly The Ohio State University or The U or some other football factory, the school hasn't had players selected in back-to-back drafts in more than 50 years.

The back-to-back drought certainly will end this year with cornerback Cortez Allen going to follow in the footsteps of the man he covered every day at practice for three seasons, receiver Andre Roberts, a third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals last year.

"I think it was about even," Allen said of those daily matchups. "Andre has a very good work ethic. Being able to work with him, an NFL-caliber receiver, benefitted me a whole lot then and also now. I go back to him and ask for advice, ‘OK, what should I expect. Give me a few pointers on this or that.' He's always there for me."

Allen has a lot of the physical traits the Packers covet at the position. At a shade taller than 6-foot-1, he certainly has the height desired by general manager Ted Thompson, who hasn't drafted a cornerback shorter than 6-foot during his tenure in Green Bay.

Add together his height, length (Allen's arms were tied for the third-longest among the cornerbacks at the Scouting Combine), speed (4.46 in the 40) jumping ability (37 1/2 inches) and physicality, there are obviously a lot of tools to work with.

Those tools notwithstanding, Allen's senior season was a disappointment. Emerging as a full-time starter as a junior, Allen picked off three passes and was named second-team all-conference. As a senior, he even found himself on the bench after giving up three touchdowns against Appalachian State.

But Allen bounced back and got back in scouts' good graces with a strong week against LSU's talented Terrance Toliver, among others, at the East-West all-star game.

"Just my athleticism, my size," he said of what caught scouts' eyes. "I feel like that is what caught a lot of peoples' eyes, especially watching film of my former teammate, Andre Roberts. I think that stood out to a lot of teams, just my ability to run and my quickness with my size."

The Bulldogs played mostly man in the secondary, which is something the Packers do little of under Dom Capers. But with his ability to break on the ball, thriving in a zone scheme shouldn't be a stretch. Throw in his character and intelligence, and Allen could be quite a find with a fourth-round pick.

Not bad for a guy who played just one year of high school football, earning all-state honors in Florida.

"It's crazy. It's mind-boggling," he said. "I was just thinking about it at breakfast (at the Combine), looking at (Jake) Locker and (Ryan) Mallett and all these big-name kids and I'm here also. It's crazy but it's just the beginning."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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