Several factors go into a player remaining undrafted for an extended period of time. Vikings fifth-round wide receiver Aundrae Allison can identify. In his pre-draft prospect book, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper had the Vikings taking Allison in the third round as their top receiver in the draft. The Sporting News draft analysts had Allison rated as the fourth-best wide receiver prospect – two spots of ahead of second-round selection Sidney Rice.
Yet, as the first day of the draft concluded, Allison was still on the board. Coming off a junior season at East Carolina when he caught 83 passes for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns, an ankle injury last season greatly hindered his ability to play at his usual level and his production dropped significantly. Apparently, it would be a precursor to his draft-day drop.
"It affected me a lot," Allison said of the injury. "I couldn't burst in and out of my cuts like I usually do. I didn't get healthy until the Senior Bowl."
Allison's journey to Minnesota began with two years of playing at the Georgia Military Academy, where life is tough and the rules are tougher. Allison was able to adjust to the type of lifestyle that players were subjected to and, from his perspective, the time spent there was good preparation for life in the pros.
"It prepared me a whole lot," Allison said. "It made me stronger as a person. The opportunity that was just given to me, if I could go through that, I could make it through anything. With me falling from a second-rounder to a fifth-rounder, that's only going to make me hungrier and add more ammunition to the fire I have inside of me."
Allison's slide down the draft board was something he had a hard time accepting. Having been convinced that he was going to be a first-day selection, the wait was interminable and he didn't it take lightly.
"I was totally shocked," Allison said. "I got a lot of friends in the draft who were shocked. We communicated through the how process and that's how I kept my head up. Some of the guys I competed with were (wondering) how did I drop to Day Two? At the end of the day, you get an opportunity and make the most of it."
For much of the draft, Allison was convinced he would end up as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had expressed a lot of interest in him. While he had spoken with the Vikings at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine, he didn't expect the Vikings to be a potential suitor. But in the end, he was happy that the team did.
"Minnesota is good at evaluating talent and they're an organization on the come-up," Allison said. "They know that I can play football and those teams that passed up on me I feel like they weren't doing their research good enough."
As the frustration of being left of the draft board began to subside, Allison failed to throw out the infamous S.O.D. (Steal of the Draft) line, but, with the Vikings receiver corps in a state of flux, he's convinced that, fifth-rounder or not, he can make a big impact and make it quickly.
"They don't really have a permanent receiving corps," Allison said of the Vikings. "I feel I can go in and compete. I'm confident in my skill level. I know when the opportunity is given to me I'll make the best out of it. I look forward to getting a lot of (playing time) this year."
Draft Drop Doesn't Faze Allison's Expectation
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