04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Jets' picks: Round 7/242-Antonio Allen, S, 6-2, 210, South Carolina...Hard-hitting and played both linebacker and safety in college, which provides the Jets much-needed versatility. - The Sports Xchange
Allen was a three-star defensive back recruit and originally signed with South Carolina out of high school, but was forced to attend Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) for a year. He enrolled at South Carolina and saw limited action in 2008 as a true freshman, recording five tackles. Allen moved to the "Spur" spot in 2009 as a sophomore and started 8 games, finishing with 35 tackles and 2 pass break-ups.
He started 11 games in 2010 as a junior, recording 70 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one interception (returned for a score). Allen had his most productive season in 2011 as a senior (12 starts), finishing with a team-best 88 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and three interceptions (one returned for a score).
Allen played the Spur position in Columbia and is one of the more versatile defenders in this class with experience near the line of scrimmage and also dropping into coverage. He is a good, but not great athlete, and plays with an aggressive, physical temperament on the field. Allen is very active and disruptive at all levels of the field and his versatile experience will be enticing, but a lot of teams will see more tweener traits than versatile ability -- projects as a special teams thumper and in-the-box safety who will struggle in the deep half of the field at the next level, which limits his pro effectiveness.
Strengths: Possesses a tall, long frame with room to get stronger -- adequate arm length (32 inches). Talented all-around athlete with good playing speed and range. Reads and deciphers quickly, reacting in a flash with a nose for the ball. Jumps routes and drives fast on plays in front of him. Has good body control and balance to redirect and break down in space -- consistent open-field tackler. Extends his arms into contact and works hard to shed and burst to the ball. Heads-up, opportunistic defender with good awareness and ball skills to make plays on the ball -- four interceptions, six forced fumbles and three defensive scores in his career. Disciplined, physical blitzer, easily blowing through running back blocks. Doesn't shy from contact and exhibits a nasty attitude with a competitive attitude and motor. Versatile with experience as an in-the-box safety and in man coverage, lining up over inside receivers. Also played on special teams coverage.
Weaknesses: Needs to get stronger with little muscle definition on his frame. Too easily lost in the trash. Not a sudden athlete with some body stiffness when attempting to quickly redirect. Not an explosive player and needs to show better bend and flexibility in his drops -- plays too high. Has suspect instincts in coverage and needs to show better pre-snap recognition. Will slip off tackles and needs to finish more consistently. Has durability concerns after various injuries forced him out of action in college, including a hamstring injury in 2010 and a neck issue last season. Lacks a natural position and might be viewed as a linebacker/safety tweener by several teams.
NFL Comparison: Quinton Carter, Denver Broncos
-- Dane Brugler