JBB Draft Profile: Javorius “Buck” Allen, USC RB

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Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; USC Trojans running back Javorius Allen (37) looks on before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2014 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

While stars are often found in the first round of the draft, it is the middle to late rounds – rounds 3-7 – where teams are built, and Raider GM Reggie McKenzie has located numerous mid-to-late-round gems in his three drafts to date with the Raiders. Last year, McKenzie grabbed offensive guard Gabe Jackson in the 3rd round and defensive tackle Justin Ellis in the 4th, and the two both became starters by the end of their rookie season, while 7th round pick TJ Carrie played a ton of quality snaps at cornerback. In 2013, McKenzie found Sio Moore in the 3rd and Latavius Murray and Mychal Rivera in the 6th. He’ll undoubtedly be looking to find another useful role-player in the middle rounds of the 2014 draft.

One position group where you can often find a great deal in the draft is the running back position. Devalued in the NFL due to the primacy of the passing game, the running back is still an important asset to a modern NFL offense. Run-heavy college offenses, meanwhile, churn out dozens of running backs every year who can immediately contribute to an NFL team in one way or another. Of the 13 backs who had over 1,000 yards rushing in the NFL in 2014, only one was a former first-round pick (Marshawn Lynch). The NFL is full of examples of middle-round or late-round picks who were their teams’ primary running back as rookies – like Alfred Morris. The Raiders own Latavius Murray, who is likely to be next years’ feature back, was a 6th round pick.

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  • The Raiders go into 2015 with some uncertainty at running back. Darren McFadden will likely be gone, and Maurice Jones-Drew is likely not going to be a major contributor based on his 2014 performance. While Marcel Reece could see more use as a ball-carrier, the Raiders may want to take a look at a running back in this draft to come in and complete their backfield corps and add depth to what is generally the most injury-prone group on any NFL roster. One place they may look is USC’s Javorius “Buck” Allen.

    Allen, a Junior, has spent three years at noted running back factory USC, in the pro-style systems of former Raider head coach Lane Kiffin and former Raider QB’s coach Steve Sarkisian. Like most USC backs, he’s had to face strong competition to even see time on the playing field, and in his freshman year only touched the football six times. He started slow in his sophomore year, carrying the ball only 29 times through the first eight games of the season before stepping in as the feature back against Oregon State. He became one of the primary weapons for USC for the remainder of the season under interim head coach Ed Ogeron, logging 106 carries for 648 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a six-carry, 135-yard, 2-TD performance against Cal. He added 19 receptions for 243 yards and a score in the passing game.

    Allen came into 2014 under new head coach Steve Sarkisian as the primary back for the Trojans, and had a standout year, amassing nearly 2,000 total yards from scrimmage, including 1,489 yards rushing on a 5.4 yard per carry rushing average. He posted nine 100-yard rushing performances in USC’s 13-game season, including a 205 yard day against a tough Arizona defense.

    Despite his success, he enters the draft process projected as a 4th-round pick. The CBS Sports draft scouting page has him ranked 13th at his position, WalterFootball.com has him ranked ninth. Here is a breakdown of why Allen could be a sleeper in the late rounds.

    Next: Allen Breakdown: Physical Attributes