April 13, 2024

Rookie Spotlight 2024: Braelon Allen

4 min read

Braelon Allen

The Wisconsin Badgers have been in a bad spot the last few years and truly, the one real bright spot has been Braelon Allen. He is a three-year player in Wisconsin who played in 35 games and had 35 rushing touchdowns in his career. Being a running back who’s been ranked anywhere from the top back to the 15th-ranked back in this class makes Allen pretty polarizing. I am on the high end for Braelon Allen, and here is why:

 

Strengths

Braelon Allen celebrated his 20th birthday in January. Throughout college, he was known for his hard work and dedication, which earned him the title of a workhorse. Allen has achieved impressive milestones — he has had two 1,000-yard seasons and averaged about six yards per carry. When faced with arm tackles, he breaks through them easily, showing his agility and strength. He may not block well, but  Allen’s great vision lets him find open spaces on the field. It also lets him pick up blitzing players well.

 

 Weaknesses

The main issue is the large amount of film of Allen fumbling the ball, which shows a need for better ball security. He catches well, but he lacks confidence in passing plays. However, this may have improved at his pro-day workout. Allen’s hands were a point of emphasis. (You can see an example of that here.) Moreover, his agility appears unique due to his large stature. Despite Allen’s size, he runs smoothly, like a nimble 160 lb. running back.

 

NFL Player Comparison

Trent Richardson

This won’t help Braelon Allen’s draft stock much. Richardson did poorly in the NFL, but Allen’s college tape looks a lot like Trent Richardson’s. The best thing going for Braelon Allen is that he won’t be expected to be the savior. Richardson was drafted as the 3rd overall pick in 2012 to be the man. While the big backs have fallen off, there seems to be a resurgence in them based on the makeup of some teams. Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb are prime examples. They show that bigger backs can succeed and help offenses win.

 

Top 3 Fits

Arizona Cardinals

I think Allen would be a great addition to the Cardinals, who need a reliable backup for James Conner. Conner is a key part of the team, but having a backup ready for when his contract expires is important for the team’s future. Allen’s skills fit the Cardinals’ game plan, and he could give solid support to Kyler Murray in games.

San Francisco 49ers

Over the last two years, the team has heavily relied on Christian McCaffery, pushing him to his limits. To protect his health and avoid overworking him, the coaches must give him fewer touches in games. Elijah Mitchell has displayed promising skills but struggles to stay injury-free. Braelon Allen may step in to share the workload when McCaffery requires rest. It would be wise to entrust the ball to a dependable rookie like Allen. Doing this when the team has a lead will ensure the team’s long-term success.

Baltimore Ravens

Another pipe dream. With Derrick Henry signing in Baltimore, Keaton Mitchell is the change of pace back, though he is returning from injury. The Ravens need another back that can provide touches. Though Henry is on the tail end of his career, he can still be productive despite father time creeping up on him. Baltimore needs a younger version of Henry that they can plug and play for the later years of Lamar’s time. It just makes too much sense.

 

Fantasy Outlook

Draft capital and the team a running back joins are key factors, and you must consider them when evaluating prospects. I don’t see Braelon Allen starting in his rookie year, but I think he can excel as a backup at first. He should become a main option in his second year.

In upcoming fantasy drafts, Allen may not be a top pick, but targeting him in the mid-second round or early third round could be a smart move. The NFL does not value large running backs, but, Allen’s skills show that he will find his place in the league soon.

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