The New York Giants drafted San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL draft, but they added another impressive specimen as an undrafted free agent.
Big Blue signed Nebraska TE Austin Allen to compete for a reserve spot this off-season. Allen is a 6’8”, 253-pound player with 9 1/2 inch hands and 33 5/8 inch arms.
Last season with Nebraska, Allen posted 602 yards and two touchdowns over 38 receptions. This was by far his best collegiate performance as a receiver, with a ton of yardage coming after the catch. He averaged 15.8 yards per reception, showcasing what he’s capable of making plays downfield.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlien noted Allen’s limitations, specifically with his route running:
Sky-scraping tight end with in-line potential if he can continue filling out his frame with additional muscle. Despite his tall center of gravity, Allen will flash as both a down blocker and as an athletic, moving shield when blocking in space. His release and route running are heavy and plodding; he’s unlikely to beat man coverage on the next level without scheme help. He is willing and able to catch the ball in traffic and his height gives him a theoretical advantage on jump-ball throws. Allen appears to have football in his future, but his level of success could be determined by whether or not he can develop into a true “Y” as a pro.
Nebraska TE Austin Allen is a big dude (6’9 & 255 lbs). Moves well in a straight line for his build! Interested to see his testing numbers at the combine. pic.twitter.com/wEDusmzR6T
— Full-Time Dame ? (@DP_NFL) February 27, 2022
When you look at Allen objectively, there’s no doubt he needs plenty of development to become a legitimate NFL player. Even if he becomes a serviceable special team player, that will provide plenty of value as an undrafted free agent.
However, with a solid frame, adding a bit more muscle would do him well as a blocker. He lacks the functional strength to block routinely off the edge against stronger defenders, but he’s a solid 2nd level blocker on screens and pitches to the running back.
As a receiver, he leaves a lot to be desired, but with better coaching and route running, there’s no question he can be a serviceable option in the passing game for the New York Giants. His frame gives him competent contested-catch capabilities, but there are concerns about him separating from man coverage. A good scheme will be able to extrapolate on his skills, but he’s several years away from earning legitimate reps on offense.