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

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Sep 13, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Southern California Trojans tail back Javorious Allen (37) evades a tackle by Boston College Eagles line backer Steven Daniels (52) during the fourth quarter at Alumni Stadium. The Boston College Eagles won 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Technique and Skills

Allen is a physical, powerful runner who excels at running in tight spaces and into contact. Like the best power backs, he can lower his frame and initiate contact with defenders, and has the size and strength to overpower smaller defenders and even the occasional linebacker. He is also a very patient runner who allows his blocks to develop, then generally selects the proper gap and hits it with a quick, aggressive burst. He also excels at running in space, able to make quick direction changes and sttuter-steps in order to make a single defender miss, though he isn’t a juke-moving scat back.

Importantly, he is able to make one good cut and explode out of it, meaning he can fit in nearly any running scheme the Raiders would want to install in 2015. And while he doesn’t possess the breakaway speed of Latavius Murray, he can get to top speed quickly and get to the edge or beat a tracking linebacker to the point of attack, and if he gets some good blocks, can explode and get well into the second level before being caught from behind. In college, he was able to break away on long runs relatively routinely, but this will not be the case in the NFL.

Being a USC product, Allen has had plenty of opportunity to develop as an asset in the passing game as well as in the run game. As a receiver, Allen compares well to backs like Bishop Sankey, Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles: he has a tall frame, long arms, and soft hands, making him a consistent threat as a receiver. Over the course of his college career, he has caught 63 passes for 710 yards and two touchdowns. He has had the opportunity to run a variety of routes in Steve Sarkisian’s offense, especially, meaning he can quickly adjust to anything he may be asked to do in Bill Musgrave’s offense. He is also a very solid pass-blocking back, and uses his size and strength well while bringing a certain willingness and aggressiveness to his blocking.

The major knock on Allen is that he is fumble-prone and has issues with ball security. He doesn’t always secure the ball close to his body when he gets in space, and sometimes flails his arms when he ends up off-balance, putting the football in harm’s way. In his career 482 touches at USC, he fumbled the ball six times. He also has a tendency to run high in space, making him a bigger target and further exposing the ball to potential fumbling. And of course he does tend to suffer a bit from the perception that he benefitted from better blocking at USC than he will likely have in the NFL, which is largely true.

Many of Allen’s highlights on tape show USC’s offensive line opening up massive gaps and getting enormous push, which makes it easy to rack up a 5.4 yard per carry average. In 2013, he struggled against the quality Stanford and Notre Dame defenses, though he had success against both teams – as well as UCLA’s quality defense – in 2014. There’s really no way to tell how well he will do behind NFL blocking against NFL defenses until he gets to the NFL.

Next: Allen Breakdown: Late Round Upside