Players In Focus: Antonio Allen

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29: Justin Worley #14 of the Tennessee Volunteers tries to get away from Antonio Allen #26 of the South Carolina Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Moving from one safety to the next, we take a look at our 7th round selection from South Carolina, safety Antonio Allen. A player who many believered would be drafted in the 4th or 5th round. Why he dropped is a good question, Rex said he was shocked that he was still there in the 7th and thought maybe he dropped because his roll at South Carolina was not that of a traditional safety. A player with a lot of athleticism, excellent production and good intangibles, Antonio is going to be an interesting guy to watch on specials and on defence over the next couple of years.

Born in Ocala Florida, Antonio has been productive whenver he has taken the field. He finished his high school career with back to back 100 tackle seasons. He logged 124 tackles and 4 interceptions his senior year earning himself first team all state honors. As a 3 star defensive back prospect, Allen was recruited by several notable schools including Louisville, Mississippi and Nebraska. Finally deciding that his college home was in South Carolina.

When you read about Antonio Allen, one thing that will come up continuously is that Antonio played the SPUR position in college with South Carolina. This is basically a hybrid linebacker/safety, which is why he played a lot in the box and why Rex believed he droppd in the draft. A lot of colleges are now moving to the 4-2-5 defence to stop the spread offence, in this defence the SPUR player is the cog that makes it work. He needs to have excellent decision making ability and a lot of athleticism, shifting up into a traditional linebacker position in runs upport or dropping into nickel in passing situations. It's important for this position to read the defence accurately.

In 2007, Antonio played at Fork Union Military Academy in Chatham before enrolling at Carolina in 2008. Playing at both the strong safety and SAM linebacker position, Allen didn't see a great deal of action and only appeared in four games, notching 5 tackles. In 2009 he moved to the SPUR position and although his stats do not jump out at you, he made a good impression adjusting to the new position and finished with 35 tackles and 2 pass defences.

In 2010 Allen really improved and made the SPUR position his own. He finished the year with 70 tackles, 3 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, 4 pass defences and 1 interception, including a very impressive performance against Tennessee where he had 7 tackles, 4 for a loss and 1.5 sacks. In 2011 Antonio continues his impressive run at the SPUR position finishing with 81 tackles, 9 for a loss, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass defences and 3 interceptions.

At 6'1 and 210lb's, Antonio has excellent size and although he hasn't played the traditional role as a safety, as Rex said, he'll be able to learn that position while contributing on defence. Any defensive player who is productive in the SEC deserves your recognition. He is excellent against the run as you would expect and tackles well in space, he will need to work on his coverage but for a 7th round selection, this is ultimate value. I can't wait to see him develop.

Again a few injury concerns with Antonio, he missed some time in 2009 with a slight concussion, in 2010 he missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury and last year he missed some time with a neck injury. He has never been out for long stretches as far as I can see, but he tends to pick up a few injuries now and again.

Welcome to the New York Jets Antonio.

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