Javorius Allen was thrust onto the field at USC after injuries to players ahead of him created opportunity. While Allen did his best to take advantage of those chances, it hasn't been enough to make him a highly-hyped draft prospect in 2015. I took a look at some game tape to see what it is the scouts liked (or disliked) about the former Trojan rusher.
» Good burst through the hole
» Able to make tacklers miss in space
» Legitimate pass-catching threat
» Willing and adequate pass blocker
Allen was frequently a big play rusher for the Trojans during his collegiate career. His ability to get into the second level quickly and make defenders miss with his shifty moves meant he could break a big run on almost every opportunity. When he wasn't running the ball, Allen was an equally effective pass-catcher and averaged better than 11 yards per reception over the past two seasons.
Even without the ball in his hands, Allen found a way to make himself useful on the field. While he wasn't the greatest pass protector, he wasn't terrible and showed a willingness to take on attacking defenders. He could stand to improve in that area, but just his eagerness should give NFL coaches more confidence to put him on the field in obvious passing situations.
» Impatient in letting plays develop
» Occasional poor vision, decision making
» Doesn't have breakaway speed
» Doesn't move the pile
Because Allen was seemingly always on the verge of big plays, it often appeared that he was looking for the home run rather than taking what the defense gave him. That frequently led to him trying to bounce inside runs to the outside or just not waiting for a hole to develop. Sometimes a 1-yard run can be a victory. Just ask the Seahawks. Or not.
It was also disappointing to see how easily and often Allen's momentum was stopped by opposing defenders. Despite his decent size (6-foot, 221 pounds), he almost never moved the pile. Allen's stamina allowed him to be fresh at the end of games, but if he can't get better at finishing runs he won't get a lot of chances in the fourth quarter.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
Several scouts have likened Allen to Bernard Pierce and with Pierce no longer in Baltimore, it seems like an obvious landing spot for the young running back -- especially with Justin Forsett already there to handle the bulk of the load. Speaking of Pierce ... why not place Allen alongside the veteran in Jacksonville to learn the ropes? Denard Robinson might currently be the starter, but that feels like a backfield that's ripe for a training camp competition. Similarly, Allen shares many of the same skills as Tre Mason which could allow the Rams to rotate both backs without really skipping a beat.
Early fantasy draft projection
Allen offers plenty of upside, but he's probably a season or two away from realizing it. In standard fantasy drafts, Allen isn't likely to hear his name called. Yet for those playing in dynasty leagues, Allen could find himself as a mid-round selection in rookie drafts. Just be patient ... he's not likely to provide many fantasy dividends in 2015.