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Allen is one of draft's top pass protectors

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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki

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Posted Feb. 23, 2012 @ 7:39 a.m. ET
By Nolan Nawrocki

First of a six-part series

Each day during the Scouting Combine through Tuesday, we'll feature Nolan Nawrocki's in-depth scouting report of a top draft prospect.

OT-OG Jeff Allen, #71
Illinois | Grade: 5.75
Ht:
6-3 7/8 | Wt: 307 | Sp: 5.22 | Arm: 33 1/2 | Hand: 10 | Wing: 80 3/8

Notes: Uncle, Shon Williams, played football at Miami (Fla.). Jeff was a four-year varsity starter as an Illinois prep. Enrolled early in January of 2008. Appeared in 11 games as a true freshman that fall, starting the last nine games at right tackle. Flipped sides in '09 and started all 12 games at left tackle. Helped pave the way for the Big Ten's top rushing offense as a team captain in '10, making 13 starts at the weak-side tackle spot. Started all 13 games again on the weak side in '11, finishing his career with 47 consecutive starts. Received the Illini's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award the past two years. 

Positives: Natural bender with outstanding recovery quickness, lateral agility and balance to mirror and sustain — is seldom on the ground or beaten in pass protection. Plays with a very solid base. Throws his hips in the hole and wins with quickness at the snap. Controls defenders with his hands. Is athletic running the field and can connect on the second level. Good football intelligence. Quick learner. Flopped sides and has proven he can play in a left- or right-hand stance. Versatility is a big plus — can play either tackle position and has the quickness to handle movement on the inside. Solid character. Very committed, dedicated approach — has not missed a practice or game. Is a tough, durable, hardworking four-year starter.

Negatives: Does not look the part — is knock-kneed, fleshy-bodied and pear-shaped. Lacks ideal height and arm length for the outside. Not a nasty finisher or fiery run blocker. Not strong-handed or violent with his punch. Tends to set tall and catches a lot. Undisciplined eyes — late to see and adjust to some stunts. Conditioning has been a concern area, and diet might require some additional monitoring.

Summary: A model of consistency on and off the field, Allen makes the game look easy and is one of the best pure pass protectors in this year's draft, with unique balance, coordination and agility to warrant late first-round consideration as a left tackle prospect. Versatility, football smarts and durability could allow him to start immediately and play at a high level for the next 10 years.

NFL projection: Top-50 pick.

Nolan Nawrocki's 2012 Draft Preview book, with scouting reports on approximately 500 prospects, will go on sale March 27 at bookstores everywhere. It also can be preordered at PFWstore.com either individually or as part of a combo-pack with the 2012 Draft Guide magazine, which goes on sale March 6.

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