The Los Angeles Rams drafted with the intent of prepping for the future. An example of this is fourth round pick (111th overall) Brian Allen center from Michigan State. Currently, veteran John Sullivan occupies the starting role, but Allen may develop into the starter of the future or possibly sooner.
Allen’s selection in the fourth round surprised many experts, because he was anticipated to go later in the draft. However, Allen was on the Rams’ radar for a while. He met with the Rams for a pre-draft visit, and obviously the team saw something in him that they absolutely had to have. Allen’s pick might seem like a reach, but if he fits into Sean McVay’s offensive scheme, then he will be well worth it. This is why the Rams nabbed him before another team could.
Since evaluations of draft prospects have reverted to NFL combine statistics, Allen isn’t a flashy pick. He’s undersized and possesses short arm length. Allen also isn’t particularly quick and lacks athleticism overall. It almost appears that the Rams have made a mistake in drafting this young center based on that assessment.
Rams fans are constantly reminded that the combine isn’t as reliable as some experts would like to think. While I can’t say if Allen will achieve anything on the NFL level, he does have potential. His potential isn’t based on how fast he can run a 40 meter dash. Instead, it’s based on his film and his overall technique as a blocker.
Allen excels with his raw passion and aggressive approach to the game. He’s a mauler, who consistently drives the opposition into the ground despite his underwhelming size. He also features excellent footwork.
Another desirable aspect of Allen’s game is his versatility. Due to his size, he will likely focus at center, but he is capable of playing any of the offensive guard spots in a pinch. The likelihood of Allen starting is close to nil but don’t count him out just yet. Sullivan, 32, is entering his 11th season in the NFL and the prime of his career is behind him. He’s still a solid player, but Sullivan will retire sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Allen can learn from offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and Sullivan. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Allen starts at some point this season.