Penn State Football: Marcus Allen 2018 NFL Draft preview

By far one of the most fun players in the draft is Penn State football’s Marcus Allen. His hard hits and production make him a solid pick for any team.

Penn State football owns the name “Linebacker U” but in Marcus Allen’s time, he made safety the main position in the Nittany Lions’ defense. His electrifying tackles and hard-hits out of nowhere made him an impact player. Although not known for coverage, he can make up ground quickly, making him a possible candidate for the NFL’s new-age “moneybacker” position.

Allen joined a unique brotherhood this year. He racked up 320 total tackles, making him just the sixth player in PSU history to reach the 300 mark. The senior safety started 46 games in his career. In addition, he patrolled a hard-hitting secondary that liked to separate the ball from the receiver through hits not deflections.

In the run support he makes his living, leveling unaware running backs. When a running back pops free, he makes intelligent reads at the line of scrimmage and attacks the backfield.

Physical Tools and Athleticism

Allen’s measurables are a bit stronger for a safety at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. However, they come in an ideal mold for a safety-linebacker hybrid. The Cardinals’ Deone Bucannon and Rams’ Mark Barron have become the prototype for playing close to the line of scrimmage and dropping into coverage.

If he can improve his range a little more in coverage, then he has some unreal potential in the league. According to NFL.com, he’s expected to go in the middle rounds (3rd or 4th) mostly because he’s seen as a fourth linebacker.

That notion is true in some aspects. His physical play makes him seen as a linebacker, but he made plays in pass coverage. They just didn’t come often enough.

Statistical Breakdown

The production for Allen is there. More than 300 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 10 pass break-ups and five forced fumbles show he can get to the football. Whether he makes it as a starter in the NFL might be in question, what isn’t up for discussion is that he can make tackles and make plays on a defense. His nose for the football led him to record 70 or more tackles in three of his four seasons.

Although scouts want to say he can’t make plays in coverage, he rarely got beat. He kept everything in front of him. Paired against a tight end, he could keep everything contained, so linebacker or hybrid positions could be in play.

To sum up, Allen has a chance to make an impact in the league. Sure the concerns are there, but he gets to the ball and tackles well. A sure sign he can make it somewhere.