Hope the day finds you well. I spoke with Anthony Allen Monday about the draft and his future as a Baltimore Raven. He had some interesting things to say about the triple option impacting his draft position, how his undrafted teammates are doing and being welcomed to the NFL by Ray Lewis.
1. On Saturday (when he had to wait about six hours to get picked): “It started off a little nerve-wracking. I was sitting there trying to watch it (on television). You really shouldn’t do that. People were telling me you shouldn’t do it, but I was hard-headed and did it anyway. Once you’re seeing guys fly off the board that you played against and you know their capability and you know [you're better than], you start to stress a little bit.”
Once the seventh round started, though, he started getting phone calls from teams that told him they were going to try to pick him, which eased his anxiety.
2. Allen’s plan for now is to just wait out the lockout. (A federal appeals court in St. Louis is expected to make a decision in coming days on the NFL’s request to keep the lockout on. If it’s granted, the lockout could last into June or July. If it isn’t granted, then teams would have to open their doors and resume NFL business, probably including offseason workouts, rookie mini-camps and the like.)
If the lockout ends, he’ll go up to Baltimore for rookie mini-camp. If it doesn’t, he’ll stay in Miami, where he’s been training.
3. Allen got the draft call from Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery. He also talked to coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti.
“Everybody pretty much said the same thing: It’s hard to judge out of the triple option,” Allen said. “They don’t know what a person can do out of that system. They had faith in my running abilities after I got past the first line so they should give me a chance.”
Allen said he’d heard similar talk from other teams as he went through the draft process, despite showing in the Senior Bowl that he could line up seven yards deep in a conventional formation and read holes and pass block.
“When it came down to it, those guys are spending millions of dollars,” he said. “They have to make sure they get a guy that they can trust. When it got down to it, they couldn’t get over the fact that I played in the triple option.”
I asked him if it gave him any regrets about transferring to Tech from Louisville instead of somewhere with a more conventional offense. He said no, citing a number of reasons, including playing for Paul Johnson, playing in the offense and the education.
Said Allen, “I wouldn’t be the man I am if I hadn’t gone to Georgia Tech.”
4. My two cents: I think a lot could be riding on how Allen and Jonathan Dwyer do. If they turn out to be productive backs, it would probably remove some of the stigma that Allen referred to. However, I’d think to some degree it would always exist; NFL talent evaluators and coaches generally aren’t known as a risk-loving bunch.
However, I’ll offer Johnson’s standard defense about the offense regarding the draft. If you can play, the NFL will find you. That’s how players from Abilene Christian, Slippery Rock and Yale, among other places, got picked in this year’s draft.
5. Allen said he spoke with Joshua Nesbitt and Jerrard Tarrant after the draft. He said both had gotten calls from teams during the draft that wanted to sign them as undrafted free agents.
“They were pretty positive about that,” Allen said.
6. Allen said he’s been investigating Baltimore – the city and the team. He hasn’t been up there yet, but he likes both.
“Because they’re a smashmouth team,” he said. “They take it at you.”
7. He said he’s already thought about the first contact scrimmage in training camp when he runs into the line with Lewis, the future hall of famer, coming at him.
“Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do or what I’m going to say to him when it happens,” Allen said. “I don’t think I’m going to go in there with a plan. I’m just going to go on pure reaction and see what the outcome is.”
8. Allen didn’t have a prediction on who’s going to be his replacement, praising all the candidates, Preston Lyons, Charles Perkins, David Sims and Richard Watson.
“They’re good natural runners,” he said. “We’ll see what they do during camp. It was a battle last year with me. There was no clear-cut winner until you line up that first game on Saturday.”