Draft Review: Jared Allen

From a fourth-round draft pick to Hall of Fame candidate

GOSSELIN DRAFT ANALYSIS: Jared Allen was a three-year starter and a three-time All-Big Sky Conference pass rusher at Idaho State with 38 ½ career sacks. He won the Buck Buchanan Award as the best Division I-AA defensive player in 2003 when he posted 17 ½ sacks. He measured 6-6, 265 pounds at the 2004 NFL combine, ran a 4.75 40 but benched 225 pounds only 13 times. Gosselin ranked Allen as the 19th best defensive end on his 2004 draft board, a sixth-round value. Allen was harshly evaluated by all because of his level of competition (I-AA) – talent evaluators know it’s a big jump from Southern Cal to the NFL, much less from Idaho State to the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Allen in the fourth round with the 126nd overall pick.

Here are comments on Allen from six talent evaluators leading up to the 2007 NFL draft:

Scout: No anchor, but could make it as a deep snapper.

Scout II: May be a year away as a player but the best deep snapper in this draft. Fifth round solely on that. 254 pounds at the East-West Shrine Game, not strong enough yet.

Scout III: Narrow base, doesn’t play with power or leverage. When he has to work the offensive lineman’s outside shoulder, they can sink their hips and collapse him down inside. He must run completely around them. If he hits them, he gets stuck on them. Doesn’t string moves together very well. No closing burst, struggles to double back. Limited balance, on the ground a lot. Fourth or fifth round (value). Showed up this fall (2003) at 273 with 19% body fat. Long arms and legs with narrow skeleton.

Special teams coach: Not as accurate (deep snapping) as the Texas kid (Cullen Loeffler). Not always down the middle. Allen has the best velocity and tightest spiral but also a bit of a hitch. Character flags.

Defensive line coach: Needs to mature physically. Handled himself well at the East-West Shrine Game. Fourth or fifth round.

Scout IV: Best deep snapper in the draft.

HALL OF FAME RESUME: No Hall of Fame candidate in the Class of 2021 has traveled a longer path to the doorsteps of Canton than Allen. No player from Idaho State has ever been enshrined in the Hall. Allen wound up starting 10 games as a rookie with the Chiefs and collected nine sacks. But by his fourth season he was the NFL leader in sacks with 15 ½ in his final year with the Chiefs. Kansas City traded Allen to Minnesota that offseason for a first-round draft pick and two thirds. He led the NFL again in sacks with 22 in 2011 for the Vikings. Allen posted double-figures in sacks in eight of his 12 seasons. He went to five Pro Bowls and was a first-team all-pro pick four times. His 136 career sacks rank 15th on the all-time list. And he never had to tap into his deep-snapping skills to become a Hall of Fame finalist.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Gosselin spent 20 years as the NFL columnist for the Dallas Morning News, including 20 offseasons studying and researching prospects for the NFL draft. He didn’t watch any tape – he was a writer, not a scout – but he talked to the men who did watch tape. He built a network of NFL general managers, head coaches, personnel directors, scouts and assistant coaches from all 32 teams who would share with him their analyses of players. Gosselin used their insights to build his own draft board, Top 100 board and mock drafts. For 10 consecutive years he had the best Top 100 board in the country (2001-10), according to The Huddle Report, and three times he produced the best mock draft. Leading up to the announcement of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 Saturday, Gosselin resurrected his college scouting reports here for a look back at what NFL talent evaluators were saying about the top draft prospects coming out of college.

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