Brandon Allen completes long journey to NFL draft pick
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen took the long road to SEC stardom.
A few plays as a redshirt freshman, solid improvement as a sophomore, a breakout junior year followed by a career-high 3,440 yards and 30 touchdown tosses as a senior.
He wasn’t about to sweat out waiting a few rounds to hear his name called in the NFL draft.
For Allen, the call came in the sixth round, when the Jacksonville Jaguars made him the 201st overall pick.
Not a bad climb for the nation’s No. 374 prospect in the Class of 2011.
Even among a smaller pool of draft eligible quarterbacks this year, Allen was listed toward the bottom of just about every analysts’ top 10 list.
Allen took it in stride, telling 103.7 The Zone on Thursday morning that he was relaxed and looking forward to the rest of the draft.
He joked that he wasn’t too concerned about Thursday night’s first round.
“I’m ready to see what happens,” Allen told the station.
Allen retraced his career arc, the early struggles at Arkansas, the coaching change, the slow start this past season.
“It started out pretty rocky,” he said of his freshman year. “Didn’t win a lot of games. I took a lot of heat.”
He credited Bret Bielema and the new staff for changing the Razorbacks’ future, and his.
“It was great to end on a high note,” he told the station.
Allen spent the offseason working out, training in Florida. He said he worked out for eight NFL teams but had no clue who might select him. Or when.
Not that any of that mattered. His focus throughout the evaluation process was “making sure I’m ready to go, 100 percent.”
Now, he’ll get the chance. The goal no longer is getting drafted.
“I want to … go make a difference,” he told the station.
The Jacksonville Jaguars list only two quarterbacks on the current roster — starter Blake Bortles and nine-year journeyman Chad Henne. So although Allen had to sit through 12 other quarterbacks getting selected, he should have an excellent shot at getting drafted.
The size of his hands became a big topic in the pre-draft process, and that may be one of the reasons he remained available in the sixth round.