Nebraska TE Austin Allen is a walking matchup nightmare, and he’s flying under the radar heading into the 2022 NFL Draft.
The 2022 NFL Draft class is loaded with talent at the tight end position. The top prospects in the position group all fit the mold of the modern, prototypical tight end: solid route runners and pass catchers first, blockers second. Nebraska tight end Austin Allen is a little different in that regard.
Like the top tier prospects, Allen is a terrific route runner with really good hands. He’s also a very capable blocker, having matched up with some of the best defensive ends in the country this season while showing the ability to run downfield and engage defensive backs.
What truly sets Allen apart from the rest of the tight end class is his combination of size and athleticism.
Allen arrived on Nebraska’s campus in 2017 as a 6’8′, 210 pound beanpole who dominated Class B high schools in the Cornhusker state in both football and basketball. He finished his senior year at Nebraska standing 6’9″, weighing 255 pounds, and owning the single season receptions record for tight ends at the school.
His height makes him a difficult cover for linebackers and defensive backs as it is. His speed, agility, and jumping ability make covering Allen nearly impossible. Nebraska’s inability to get him the ball in the red zone was maddening to watch this season, given his dominant physical traits.
Allen was able to haul in 38 receptions for 602 yards in 2021, earning him the Kwalik-Clark Tight End of the Year Award, given annually to the best tight end in the Big Ten conference. Previous winners include Pat Freiermuth and T.J. Hockenson.
Although Austin Allen did get the recognition and accolades he deserved from the Big Ten in 2021, he has gone largely unnoticed on the national landscape during his career. Nebraska’s subpar performance and lack of relevance in the Scott Frost era has been more of a contributing factor than anything Allen did or didn’t do in that time.
Luckily for Austin Allen, draft season — including the NFL Combine and pro days — gives under-the-radar prospects like himself a second chance to make a name for themselves and demonstrate true value to NFL scouts and execs.
Keep an eye on Allen’s workouts leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. In gaining the size that he did in college, he never lost any of that athleticism that made him as much of a nightmare on the basketball court as he is on the football field. It’s a good bet that he’s going to put up some eye-popping numbers in those workouts that subsequently boost his stock.
It’s not every day a 6’9″ tight end with elite footwork comes along, and something tells me there’s a roster spot and major role waiting for him on Sundays as a result.