2015 NFL Combine Preview: USC RB Buck Allen


USC running back Buck Allen is headed to the 2015 NFL Combine after a big junior season with the Trojans.

What did he do at USC?

Allen was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in 2011 and had to wait his turn to get a chance in the Trojan offense. Redshirting as a freshman and in Lane Kiffin’s doghouse in his second and the beginning of his third year, Allen benefited more than anyone from Kiffin’s firing.

With an explosive second half of 2013 during which he gained 785 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, Allen earned USC’s MVP award and an honorable mention spot on the All-Pac-12 team.

As a redshirt junior, Allen followed up on his break out season by rushing for 1,489 yards, the most at USC since Reggie Bush in 2005, and 11 touchdowns. He was an All-Pac-12 first teamer in his final season.

What’s his current draft stock?

Back in September NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah noted that people around the country hadn’t yet caught on to how good Allen is.

That might still be the case, as Allen remains under the radar as draft talk heats up.

[Allen]’s well-rounded enough to be a very good backup with middle- of-the-road starting potential. — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Rated the No. 12 running back in the draft by both CBS Sports and NFL.com, Allen is projected as a third or fourth rounder.

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Scouts love his ability to cut his way through traffic and make something of nothing. Jeremiah projected he could be a three-down back in the NFL, with solid blocking and pass catching skills to sustain him in any situation.

However, Scouts also worry about his height, specifically, the way his upright running style gives defenders a big target to aim for. They also question his ability to maintain his balance and finish off runs after contact.

What can he improve?

There is a concern about Allen’s breakaway speed, so a strong 40-time at the Combine relative to the other running backs there would help alleviate some of those questions.

The scouts will already be aware of his lateral speed and quick-cutting ability, but turning some heads in the shuttle run or 3-cone drill couldn’t hurt him.

All in all, Allen needs to leave an impression on the right scout for the right team to differentiate himself from a stacked running back group in the 2015 draft.

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