2015 NFL Scouting Combine Watch List: Late Round Players to Watch

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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

Javorious Allen, RB, USC

Southern Cal’s Javorious “Buck” Allen might be one of the most underrated running back prospects in the draft. Despite an incredibly productive 2014 in Steve Sarkisian’s pass-heavy USC offense and his proven production as a receiver and blocker as well as a runner, most analysts have Allen pegged as a 4th round pick.

Allen projects well as a running back for the Raiders, who will potentially be looking for a big back who can give Latavius Murray a break on occasion but who also has the ability to be useful in the passing game in Bill Musgrave’s offense. While Allen doesn’t have Murray’s elite breakaway speed and great size, Allen does have great size at the position and more then adequate speed.

At 6’1″ and 220, he is built physically much like Adrian Peterson, and he appears to have speed equivalent to Marshawn Lynch. While he is a big, powerful back, he is a strong broken-field runner who makes great moves in tight spaces and can make tacklers miss just as easily as run them over. He tends to run high, and often exposes himself and the ball a bit too much, and he hasn’t really shown fantastic vision as a college back, though it hasn’t mattered too much behind USC’s offensive line. Here’s what he can show at the Combine for NFL evaluators:

1. 40-yard dash: The tale on Allen is that he’s quick but slow, and doesn’t have the elite speed to get to the edge or break off long runs at the next level. While a mediocre 40 won’t rule Allen out as a between-the-tackles back due to his size and great feet, a strong 40 can elevate Allen to the next level on Combine day. A back with Allen’s size and a strong 40-yard dash can climb up some draft boards quickly.

2. COD Pitch Drill: In this drill, the running back takes a pitch to the outside and then zig-zag around five cones spaced 5-7 yards apart, all the while switching the football into the proper hand and showing good ball security and a low center of gravity. While Allen can clearly weave between some cones with ease, what scouts will want to see if is he can do it all while staying low – something he doesn’t do enough on tape – and securing the football properly – something else he doesn’t do enough on tape.

3. Running Back Pass Routes: This drill is pretty simple: execute pass routes. As a running back who has played in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian’s offensive system, Buck Allen has no excuse not to dominate in this event. He is likely going to increase his value for many teams – including the Raiders – if he can show ability as a receiving back to come in on passing downs to be a threat in the pass game. If he does well in this drill, he’ll show that ability.

Next: Player to Watch: Matt Jones