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2024 Rookie Profile: Braelon Allen

Braelon Allen is a physical running back, but does he have the talent to make it to the next level!?

Profile Overview

  • College: Wisconsin
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 245 lbs
  • Age: 20
  • Year: Junior
  • Draft Projection: 4th Round

College Career

YearSchoolClassGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTD
*2021WisconsinFR1218612686.8128394.90
*2022WisconsinSO1223012425.411131048.00
*2023WisconsinJR111819845.412281324.70
CareerWisconsin59734945.935492755.60

Allen played high school ball at Fond Du Lac High School. He was a four-star recruit as he signed up to go to Wisconsin. Allen would have his best season as a freshman. He would average 6.8 YPC while splitting time with Chez Melluis, who had just transferred from Clemson. In his sophomore season, it was clear that Wisconsin viewed him as a star and lead runner in the offense. Allen and Melluis split 186 to 173 carries in 2021. In 2022, the split was 230 to 112 in favor of Allen. 

In 2023, Wisconsin went to a new head coach and quarterback. Luke Fickell would take over the team, and changes were made to this offense. When Allen first arrived, Wisconsin averaged 23 passes and 43 carries per game. In 2023, the offense averaged 36 passes and 34 carries per game. That hit Allen’s workload, as you saw a decrease of 50 carries in 2023. Allen’s talent continued to show as he managed to average 5.4 YPC.

You also saw changes with Tanner Mordecai being more mobile than former quarterback Graham Mertz. There were questions all season about why Allen wasn’t getting more carries. Coach Fickell sometimes wanted more focus on the passing offense, which led to Allen seeing fewer carries. This isn’t bad since it’s less tread on the tires as he heads to the NFL. Allen also gave us a receiving role in the Wisconsin offense. He would see a big jump with 28 receptions in 2023, the most in his career.

Strengths

Many great strengths make Allen a solid prospect in the 2024 NFL draft. One thing many scouts may fall in love with is his age heading into his NFL career. He turned 20 years old last month, so he will be 24 by the time his rookie contract ends. That will be an excellent back-to-own for NFL teams or dynasty owners. Knowing that Allen is only 20 makes his freshmen season even more impressive. Allen had 1,200 rushing yards as a 17-year-old player against big college kids and dominating them. The last Wisconsin running back to run for 1,000 yards as a freshman was Jonathan Taylor, James White, and Ron Dayne. All who have had some success during their NFL careers.

Strength/Balance

One of Allen’s best strengths is his strength and balance for the position. It helps that Allen is 6’2″ and 245lb, a bruiser of a back. Allen has the build to run over his defenders attempting to tackle him. Allen has the talent to work in different schemes in the run offense. I think that a man-run scheme would be a better fit for Allen. This will allow Allen to have the hole he needs to run right through, but if the hole collapses, he can lower his shoulder and gain a few yards. His strength will also get him on the field in essential situations in short yardage and inside the ten. Allen can be a touchdown machine if he gets into the right offense.

When watching the film on Allen, you see that he is not an easy back to bring down. Tacklers must use both arms and multiple defenders to bring him down. Allen should be able to be a great yard after contact back at the NFL level. His talent will help bring extra yards for an NFL team and fantasy points for fantasy owners. Allen would likely be the bruiser back to an electric back in the backfield.

The video above shows that Allen shows off his strength to break off tacklers as he runs up the middle. Allen’s balance to stay on the play is fantastic. You see him get turned sideways on the play but able to rebound to continue to run downfield. This play would lead to a touchdown, showing he can make big runs by running over the defense rather than past them.

Vision/Decisiveness

Another strength of Allen’s is his vision and determination as a runner. Allen’s vision of the field ahead of him is fantastic to watch on film. He has shown the ability to find holes and make moves up the field. Allen can make a bad play look good by changing lanes and making positive gains. This is a talent that can translate well to the NFL. It can help a player like Allen, who doesn’t have elite speed, to be a solid running back. Allen is also a prospect who won’t waste a run and does whatever it takes to make positive gains. He is patient but doesn’t wait too long to make his move. 

Functional Pass Catcher

Allen also has a solid talent as a pass catcher. While he is not elite, he can be a usable asset for an NFL team. He can be used as a check-down option for a team. Every NFL team needs a back that can at least catch the ball, and Allen can do that. We saw him increase his passing production each season, and he was involved when the team switched to more of a pass-first. Allen has untapped potential to work on his role as a pass catcher. He caught many short passes and did not see enough opportunity downfield. Many NFL teams want running backs who can do it all to some extent, and Allen can. He may not be top-tier, but Allen can be solid.

Areas Of Concern

Allen has some things that need improving to dominate the next level. While he is a functional pass catcher, his receiving talent on the field is a mystery. While he saw an increase in his receiving production each year, his skills have question marks. I’m unsure if he can run a bigger route tree outside screens and dump-offs. Allen also doesn’t show the long speed to make the big plays. He can get to the second level, but he will get chased down as long as the defender can tackle the big framed back. Another area that Allen needs to improve is his stop-and-go ability in the backfield.

Allen also needs to work on his pass protection more. He knows where to pick up the blocks but needs work on his technique. The young running back has a slight fumbling issue with nine over his three seasons. Allen has, at times, looked slow when trying to make moves in the backfield, which has stopped plays in their track too often.

Projected Draft Capital/Role/Dynasty Value

Allen has a wide range of draft capital during the NFL draft. He could go as early as round two if a team falls in love with his strength and balance. He could fall to round four, primarily based on the team’s need for a running back this offseason. Allen should be able to be a solid two-down back and, at times, be used as a pass catcher.

AJ Dillon is a comparable NFL player to Allen’s skill set. Some good teams that could use Allen’s services are the Chargers, Miami, Titans, or the Packers. Like Dillon, it will depend on where he lands if he has year-one production or not. Dillon didn’t, which could happen to Allen if he lands in the wrong spot. Depending on where/when Allen goes in the draft, he will likely be a second-round pick in the 2024 rookie drafts. Allen shows off a very physical runner, and if he can clear up his weaknesses, he can be a solid NFL running back in the future.

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