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Dixon | Arkansas QB Austin Allen has much to prove

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Scouting Notes

Dixon | Arkansas QB Austin Allen has much to prove

Austin Allen

Arkansas QB – RS Senior – 6’1″, 210 lbs.

Notable 2016 stats: Led SEC with 3,430 passing yards. Led three 4th quarter TD drives to either tie or take the lead. Led the SEC in completions for a first down with 150 (20th in FBS).

Games watched: TCU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Missouri

In 2016, Austin Allen finally started a full season leading Arkansas’ pro-style offense after sitting behind his older brother his first two seasons. After filtering through his 2016 film, I saw several positive aspects of his game as well essential areas he will need to improve in order to place himself among the 2018 elite QBs. Allen showed above average ability to read and dissect the defensive coverage and throw with anticipation. In addition, running Arkansas’ pro-style offense is giving him the experience needed to step into the NFL seamlessly.

However, Allen’s decision making this season must improve. Allen also needs to focus on refining his lower body throwing mechanics in order to upgrade his inconsistent accuracy and throwing power.



The Good: Anticipation, Pro-style experience, Dominance on key routes

Read & Anticipate

Throwing with anticipation is a QB skill intently looked upon because NFL passing windows are only open for short spurts, if at all. Austin Allen’s film shows ability to read the defense, anticipate a small window and pass the ball long before the WR gets out of their break. On 3rd and 19 against an Alabama cover 2 defense, Allen delivers this pass 2 steps ahead of the WR break to convert the first down.

The below play shows a different game but the same play, producing the same result. This is encouraging, as Allen can be methodically consistent. He drops back, he reads the defense, then he launches the pass once his final step plants before the WR makes his break.

Pro-style experience

Arkansas’ pound the rock and play action based offense solidifies Austin Allen as a rare 2018 QB who will NOT have a steep transition once drafted to an NFL pro-style offense. In fact, Allen was under center for 68% of his snaps last season. He has experience commanding and calling plays in the huddle, receiving snaps from underneath a center, dropping back 3-5-7 steps, and turning his back to the defense during play action passes.

Watch Allen effectively carry out this run fake while simultaneously sneaking his eyes downfield to quickly deliver the pass. Also notice Allen’s awareness of play action details to subtly crouch the ball into his stomach which helps sell the run fake.

Allen’s pro style experience will make him a rare commodity for NFL teams. Notice the hesitation step Allen gives to fully sell the run fake.

Key routes

Allen excelled throwing some key routes: the dig, post, and corner route. Reinforcing my theory, I turned to Krossover’s heat map, which shows his most efficient downfield throw is to the dig route.

With 12 seconds left before half and Allen trying to get his team into field goal position, he sees the MLB dropping deep down the middle of the field into Tampa cover 2.

However, he throws the ball confidently to the dig route coming open underneath because he noticed the MLB dropping too far back to affect the dig route.

He is also very dangerous throwing the post route. In fact, he scored two touchdowns against Alabama throwing to the post. Here is the first:

And the second:



The Bad: Decision making, throwing mechanics

Questionable decision making

Too often, Austin Allen allowed the defensive pressure to compel him to make ill-advised passes. This play shows Allen throwing to a spot hoping that his WR will make it there simply because pressure was in his face in what could have easily been an interception.

On 3rd and goal (up by 10 pts late in the 3rd quarter, no less), Allen’s decision to take a chance with the football instead takes an easy 3 points off the board. Arkansas would go on to lose the game 28-24.

Although this play is incredible, looking at the “nitty gritty” of the play shows a decision that causes turnovers in the NFL. Throwing to a corner route vs cover 2 man is ill advised because the DB in man coverage has a great chance to undercut the throw knowing he has safety help over top.

Allen threw 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions versus AP ranked teams last season. His decision making must get better before an NFL team can trust him.

Lower body throwing mechanics

Film showed that Allen will go the lazy route and sometimes throw using only his upper body with no regard to his lower body mechanics. His unwillingness to maneuver the pocket so that he can launch the pass from a stable stance leads to inaccurate passes. Below are a few examples:

And another.

Limited arm strength

Austin showed average arm strength when pushing the ball downfield. He does show some gunslinger mentality when giving the WRs a chance but his lack of arm strength does not allow him to threaten downfield consistently.

Allen’s limited arm strength will allow NFL caliber DBs to recover if he does not throw with anticipation. In this play, the WR gained enough separation for QBs with elite arm strength to complete but because Allen did not throw with anticipation of the WR’s break, his arm strength could not push the ball to the target before the DB recovered and forced an incompletion.

Experience has shown me that throws from the far hash will tell me a lot about a QB’s arm strength.

Austin Allen’s ability to diagnose the defense and throw with anticipation along with his pro style experience will interest some NFL teams. I am looking forward to him using the 2017 season to build his profile. This is a big year for him and only time will tell if he can propel himself into the conversation of the elite 2018 QBs.

Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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