Braelon Allen on the Back of a Hurricane—Rookie RB Tiers 3-8

Braelon Allen on the Back of a Hurricane—Rookie RB Tiers 3-8

In my first rookie RB article, I covered the top four RBs in the class. In this article, I dive into some interesting dart throws.

Tier 3 - Boom/Bust

Braelon Allen

At a Glance

Braelon Allen was productive at an extremely young age and has the potential to be a battering ram-style runner in the NFL. But he got less productive as his college career went on and chose not to run the 40, raising questions about his speed.

Positive Indicators

Braelon Allen was productive at an insanely young age, posting 1,268 yards and 12 TDs at 17 years old.

He followed that up with a 1,242-yard, 11-TD sophomore season and 984 yards and 12 TDs as a junior.

Despite never playing a college down in his 20s... Allen averaged 100 yards and exactly one TD per game. Truly wild stuff.

Allen isn't just young; he's huge. At 6-foot-1, 235, he's easy to imagine as an NFL battering ram.

At his size, you'd want Allen to handle a big workload. And although he never handled a huge piece of the Wisconsin backfield, he showed signs of being a capable NFL workhorse. Allen ranks 85th percentile in elusiveness per game and 82nd percentile in breakaway yards per game. Over the course of a full game, he broke a lot of tackles and hit big plays afterward.

Red Flags

Timed speed is important for all RBs, but when a RB is 235 pounds, I'd really like to know if he has sufficient long speed for the NFL. And while I'm no film expert, it seems safe to say that Allen's long speed isn't great.

But Allen left us guessing by skipping the 40 at the Combine. Then, he opted not to run at his Pro Day as well.

In his post-Pro Day press conference, Allen noted he was still recovering from a high ankle sprain he suffered during the season.

"Trying to get healthy and everything kind of took longer than we had hoped for. So had kind of a short window to train, and I just didn't feel comfortable with where I was at to put those numbers on paper. Not that they would have been bad, but they wouldn't have been what I was hoping for or expecting."

But Allen did participate in the jumps at the Combine... which did not go well.

And Allen stood on his poor jumps at his Pro Day. He might not have been fully healthy... but he should have been healthier than weeks before at the Combine, right? Honestly, Allen's tested athleticism (mostly lack thereof) makes me very nervous.

Because despite being very productive at a very young age, Allen's rushing profile isn't flawless. He actually peaked in efficiency as a freshman and is coming off his least productive season in 2023. His per-touch tackle-breaking and breakaway ability are also fine but not great—he ranks 61st percentile in elusive rating and 57th percentile in breakaway percentage.

It's a strong rushing resume but not an elite one by any means.

And Allen is very much a two-down back. He averaged just 11 routes per game with a poor 0.74 YPRR. Like Jaylen Wright, this is at the level where we need to be skeptical of the idea that he can blossom into a strong NFL receiver. Unlike Wright, film evaluators don't seem to think that's a possibility.

Statistical Comps

  • Matt Jones
  • Jordan Howard
  • Isaiah Spiller
  • D'Onta Foreman

Best Ball / Dynasty Outlook

If the NFL believes Allen is capable of being a two-down lead back, we could see him early on Day 3 or even sneak into Day 2. And then, hey, I'm on board.

But it's hard not to worry about the NFL viability of a 235-pound RB with athletic question marks and a lack of receiving versatility. Because Allen is a pure two-down bet.

And honestly, the later he falls in the draft, the more his youth could negatively affect his early career outlook. On Day 3, an NFL team with an established veteran starter could view Allen as an attractive and inexpensive speculative add. That's not so bad for dynasty, but it could cause some best ball headaches.

Given his size and youth, it's hard to believe that the fantasy community won't be intrigued by him if he eventually projects for volume. That alone makes him a fun 3rd round dynasty pick.

And even if he does very little as a rookie, it's easy to imagine Allen being a handcuff dart throw next year, in the mold of 2023 Ty Chandler or Izzy Abanikanda this year. In other words, Allen is the type of guy who the market will probably be willing to give a second look to.

But thinking through Allen's rookie season outcomes makes me pretty damn nervous when considering whether to lock him on a best ball roster this year.

Best Ball Recommendation

Worth getting some exposure to before the draft, but I'm underweight. Willing to be more aggressive if the draft goes his way.

Superflex Rookie Draft Grade

3rd Round.

This post is for paying subscribers only

Already have an account? Log in