Geronimo Allison shows ability, needs more work

Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, each day NFL Fantasy will profile a prospect who could make a splash in fantasy next season. Today's subject is former Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison.

You might have noticed that there are a lot of wide receivers in this draft worth talking about. It's an example of supply and demand. As the NFL has shifted in favor of passing games, there has been a greater need for talented pass catchers. That also makes it a little harder for some players to stand out. Enter Geronimo Allison. Illinois' offense in 2015 wasn't very inspiring, but Allison did have some standout moments, which carried over to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. I took a look at the tape to see what Allison's future could hold.

Strengths

» Long, tall frame with good arm length
» Long strides with quality game speed
» Ability to go up and get the ball
» Reliable hands catcher, especially near sidelines

When you put on Allison's tape, the first thing you notice is that he's built like an NFL wide receiver ... mostly. While his lanky frame could stand to add more muscle (something that shouldn't be a problem once in an NFL weight training program), he has the height and arm length that scouts look for. Allison also showed an ability to go up and high-point the football -- even if his 33-inch vertical jump at the combine didn't wow the scouts. Those add up to Allison being a nice red zone option for any team that can figure out how to use him.

Much like his vertical leap, Allison didn't post a great 40-yard dash time at the combine, running an underwhelming 4.67. Yet on tape, his long strides help him eat up ground on unsuspecting defenders before they ever realized what was happening. Allison isn't a straight line blazer in any sense but his notable game speed forced defenses to at least respect any potential deep routes. Finally when the ball was thrown in his direction, Allison showed good technique as a hands catcher, although he occasionally struggled with focus drops.

Weaknesses

» Must add muscle/strength
» Merely average making tacklers miss after catch
» Project who is still learning position nuances

Remember earlier when I wrote that Allison could stand to add some muscle? Well, yeah. At 6-foot-3 and just 196 pounds, there is room for him to get stronger. He'll need it when he's forced to go against more physical corners in the NFL. It could also go a long way toward helping Allison break more tackles. While he was pretty good at getting open and making catches, he was particularly frightening with the ball in his hands as he rarely made people miss.

The bottom line is that while Allison possesses very obvious natural ability but is going to need to be coached up a little bit before he makes an impact in the NFL. Then again, that's probably to be expected of a guy who didn't really commit to football until he was a senior in high school. Even then he took a roundabout trip to where he is now -- including a stop at a community college as he worked through eligibility issues. For now, any team that takes a chance on Allison will need to exercise some patience.

Ideal fantasy fits

With Josh Gordon's potential reinstatement continuing to look tenuous at best, the Browns should remain in the market for more receiving help. Allison could pair with tight end Gary Barnidge as a set of targets near the goal line. The Patriots have compiled a nice group of Smurfs in their receiving corps and Tom Brady could use a big receiver in the red zone to replace Brandon LaFell. Also, there are few coaches who can use bring out a player's strengths like Bill Belichick.

The Saints have a number of pass-catching weapons already, but Allison could provide an intriguing fit as a larger slot receiver, a la Marques Colston. Finally, it would be nice for Big Blue to get some sort of help for Odell Beckham. Could it really be any worse than Rueben Randle? Don't answer that.

Early fantasy draft projection

Best case scenario for Allison in the NFL Draft would be at the end of Day 2 although Day 3 seems just as likely. Either way, it would take a bit of work for him to be anything more than a third wide receiver in the immediate future. However the prospect of Allison seeing looks near the goal line could give him occasional DFS appeal. As for any dynasty or redraft leagues ... don't go rushing out to add him just yet.

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Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

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