Braelon Allen - RB - Wisconsin
Everyone has been hearing about how young Braelon Allen is from college football announcers for years now. During his breakout true freshman season, he was only 17 as he reclassified from the 2021 recruiting class to the 2020 recruiting class. And now, he will enter the 2024 NFL Draft and play his first game at only 20 years old. But his youth isn’t the only thing driving his draft stock, it’s also what he was able to show on the field in his three years for the Badgers.
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 245 lbs
40-yard dash: N/A
3-cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
Bench Press: N/A
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Braelon Allen was originally recruited as a linebacker coming out of high school where he was rated as a low four-star recruit. That low four-star rating was likely due to him reclassifying and starting college a year early. In high school, he played on both sides of the ball as a running back and safety, but the linebacker designation makes sense considering he was already assumed to be 235-240 pounds. When he got to Wisconsin as a true freshman, he made an instant impact by leading the team in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns. Despite being in a fairly even carry split with fellow running mate Chez Mellusi, Allen posted 186 attempts for 1,268 yards, 6.8 yards per carry, and 12 rushing touchdowns.
The following year, Braelon Allen, like many college players, got a significant increase in touches following a breakout freshman season but also hit a bit of a sophomore slump. His efficiency took a hit, but with his volume, he was still able to go over 1,000 yards rushing. That sophomore slump can also be attributed to the offensive line taking a significant step back from one of the top run-blocking teams to very average, dropping nearly 20 points in their PFF Run Blocking Grade. The run blocking did not improve and his volume shrunk in Luke Fickell’s first year as the head coach for the Badgers, resulting in Allen’s first season without hitting 1,000 yards on the ground. The only real highlight of the year for Allen was that he finally got more involved in the passing game, doubling his career receptions. He then declared for the NFL Draft following his true junior season and, as mentioned before, will only be 20 years old when he takes his first NFL snap.
Allen is currently listed on ESPN as 6’2” and 245 lbs, and that’s simply a hulking human being to be playing running back. And at that size, he can move like he is a smaller running back with great speed for his size and an ability to create explosive plays and hit those home runs out of the backfield. As his size would suggest, he has great upper body strength and contact balance, constantly falling forward and not afraid of contact. That physicality translates into his pass protection as he is generally a brick wall to oncoming defenders.
Additionally, his vision is pretty good at the line of scrimmage, and he possesses the ability to get skinny in between the tackles. He pairs that vision with solid burst to take advantage of seams in the offensive line. His change of direction is better than you’d expect as he has solid footwork. And while he didn’t get a lot of volume until his final year at Wisconsin, Allen looked comfortable catching passes and displayed reliable hands out of the backfield.
Standing at 6’2” can sometimes be a disadvantage for running backs as taller running backs generally have an upright running style that gives defenders a lot of area to tackle. And that shows on tape with Allen as he is very susceptible to lower body tackles, going down on first contact too often when tackled low. But when he’s hit in the shoulder pads and can force himself to be the low man at the point of contact, there’s a good chance he’s breaking that tackle.
Despite showing reliable hands out of the backfield, he doesn’t bring much in the yards after catch category. He’ll get what’s in front of him but generally doesn’t provide much more than that. As a runner, there are also tendencies that Allen will almost avoid breaking outside and getting to open space. Finally, ball security proved to be an issue throughout his career as he fumbled 4 times in 2021 and 2023, but only once in 2022 which was his highest volume year.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 3
Braelon Allen is a freak of nature at his size and athletic ability at only 20 years old, and it’s hard to envision many teams passing on that on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. This is a weaker running back draft class and Allen has a very good chance at being the top running back selected with the skills and potential to be a true three-down workhorse. There are a lot of teams that could use his immediate impact and potential, including the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have a decision to make with Tony Pollard this offseason, but they are a team that values workhorse running backs very highly and would be an excellent landing spot with their heavy zone running scheme. The Ravens also run that zone run blocking often that Allen has had success in and Baltimore needs a reliable RB1 that they’ve been lacking for some time.