2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Utah CB Brian Allen

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Brian Allen/CB/Utah — 6’3”, 215 Lbs

The Good

-Tremendous length for the position (34-inch arms)
-Appears comfortable playing press or off-man coverage
-Impressive athlete with natural movement
-Fluid hips to open up and run
-Blankets receivers in trail technique, hard to throw over for quarterbacks

The Bad

-Well below-average tackler with technique that needs major improvement
-Gets off-balance when throwing jab in press at times
-Ball skills are average for a former receiver
-Very slow to recognize deep ball and loses receiver when staring into backfield


-Married, father of one
-Contributed on special teams, receiver, safety and cornerback during Utah career
-Played in 42 career games for Utes (32 at cornerback) with 12 starts
-Finished with 62 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 14 pass breakups, five interceptions and one forced fumble
-Made switch to cornerback full time after sophomore season

Tape Breakdown

Throughout the draft process, there are few guys that you simply won’t hear of unless turned on to by outside parties.

That’s exactly what happened here with Utah’s Brian Allen, whom Dave-Te Thomas raved about on a recent Terrible Podcast here for Steelers Depot.

A former receiver with impressive length and long speed, Allen is as raw as it gets at cornerback. But he’s shown significant improvement over the last two seasons as a cornerback, finishing fifth in the Pac-12 with four interceptions in 2016.

With his length and long speed, Allen is comfortable playing in press or off-man, where he’s able to stun receivers, who keep with them down the field.

On go routes, Allen is really impressive, using his height and length to blanket receivers down the field, daring quarterbacks to test him on shots.

Against Cal’s Davis Webb, Allen had his bright spots and struggles, but here on the 9 route, Allen plays the trail technique to perfection, sitting under the route by a few yards to bait Webb into thinking he had a window to throw in.

Once Webb releases the ball, it’s an easy pick for the former receiver, who wins the jump ball at its highest point.

Although very raw, Allen has a good sense of what’s happening in front of him, showing some impressive closing speed to get to the ball.

While his technique isn’t great here on the tackle, I like his physicality in this situation, laying the wood to the receiver.

He’s definitely a moldable corner that could turn into something special with his size and arm length.

However, there are times where he looks so uncoordinated when trying to get into a receiver.

His feet get too close together here on the press, allowing the BYU receiver to swat him aside. Fortunately for Allen and Utah, this play was going the other way, so his error didn’t come back to haunt him.

Overall, he’s as raw as it gets as a corner, but Utah has had a knack for developing long-limbed corners into productive NFL corners in Oakland’s Sean Smith and New England’s Eric Rowe.

Allen could join that group with the right system and coaching at the next level.

Projection:  Mid Day Three (Late 5th)

Games watched:  at Cal (’16), vs. Indiana (’16), vs. BYU (’16), at UCLA (’16)

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul DouglasMarcus WilliamsDevonte FieldsJustin EvansKenny Golladay
Marquez WhiteChad WilliamsCurtis SamuelD.J. JonesSeth Russell
Amara DarbohNoah BrownMalik HookerCarroll PhillipsIsaiah Ford
Marlon HumphreyT.J. LoganJalen MyrickChad HansenEddie Jackson
Budda BakerJahad ThomasFabian MoreauMatt MilanoTashawn Bower
Jason CroomJamal AgnewHoward WilsonShaquill GriffinKeionta Davis
Michael RobertsTeez TaborShock LinwoodShelton GibsonChanning Stribling
Montae NicholsonNajee MurrayJoseph YearbyJustin DavisKD Cannon
Dawuane SmootLeonard FournetteJeremy CutrerSamson EbukamAdam Shaheen
Tarik CohenGerald EverettTaquan MizzellTony ConnerPatrick Gamble
Dalvin CookPita TaumoepenuTaylor MotonKeion AdamsRushel Shell

  • Steelers12

    CB is really deep with alot of different types

  • SoCal Steeler

    Nice job, Josh, another day 3 sleeper pick. You guys have found some great late round gems, hope the Steelers brass check out this website. I know they were at Utah’s pro day. Man, they have some serious talent there.

  • Lee Foo Young

    Let’s hope that we can turn measurable into production.

  • Spencer Krick

    Love the pick, very high ceiling for this kid.

  • Sam Clonch

    Good call!!

  • SouthernSteel

    Putting together a nice draft….TE next pick…

  • westcoasteeler

    Man, your Twitter feed is on point!

  • Kelly A

    The fact that he was once a Wide Receiver will work to his advantage; he’ll have a better sense of their tendencies, plus he can catch.

  • SilverSteel

    Made the O picks go down much easier. This kid looks like he has all the tools..just need the coaching. Maybe he can try to do what Burns did and cover AB all the time in TC,

  • steeltown

    Very intriguing

  • Steve Johnson

    I like your optimism; I hope you’re right, the Steelers secondary as a corps unit is horrible!

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Could he be a bigger Ike? I’d take that all day.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Colbert might have just saved the draft with this pick. And I don’t say that to be overdramatic. We absolutely HAD to draft a long, fast, strong, physical CB to play more press man (in certain situations).

    Kevin King and Marlon Humphrey were the 1st round candidates I liked. Rasul Douglas was a nice 2nd or 3rd round candidate. So was Shaquille Griffin. Even Fabian Moreau.

    Brian Allen was the last of those type candidates I had on my list. And we were LUCKY to get him in the 5th. In my humble opinion he has the potential to be just as good as some of those 2nd/3rd round CB’s. It’s just going to take him a year or two to learn the right techniques. (He’s only played 12 games at CB.)

    Very similar to T.J. Watt in a weird way. Excellent measurables. Excellent “sparq” numbers. Excellent upside. We all know they’re both going to improve. The question is how much?

  • Visa

    I’m probably happiest for Dave-Te – he simply gushed about this kid. He thought we should pick him up in round 4. Calls him the next Ike Taylor.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Actually I would not compare him to Ike. I’m hoping for more like “Richard-Sherman-Lite.”

    Ike ran a hand timed 4.19 at his pro day. He was much much faster than Brian Allen, which allowed him to make up distance when he got beat (which was quite often). And Ike was a better tackler.

    At this stage, I believe Brian Allen has better ball skills than Ike did. And possibly better hips. Not sure about change of direction yet.

    The thing I’m most excited about is the potential for Allen to match up one-on-one with opposing TE’s. (Same reason I wanted Obi Melinfonwu.) Put him on Tyler Eifert or even Gronk and now his 4.43 speed is plenty fast enough. And at 6’3″, with 34 inch arms, and a 38 inch vertical, he should be able to bat down most of those jump balls and fade routes. He’s literally bigger than most free safties. And still as fast as most CB’s.

    Very excited about this pick.

  • SilverSteel

    Man I was thinking the same thing. This pick saved the draft for me too. Looks like more upside than Sutton.

  • Joseph Shaw

    And a special teams demon till then.

  • King Black

    Had to hit up google, bing, yahoo, and call the University of Utah because i thought that it was a typo to see the his height and the fact the Steelers drafted a corner over 5’10.

  • gdeuce

    so awful, finished last in every category with two rookies starting

  • francesco

    Saved the draft??? Until they drafted a LS in the 6th!

  • francesco


  • michael young

    I thought this was Dave Te’s guy! Thanks for posting this. He loves this kid. I hope he lives up to the hype.

  • michael young

    Yeah, its like they had amusement restrictions. A sign that said, “you must be this short to play CB” with a measuring stick.

  • Kelly A

    Awful??? This narrative that the Secondary unit it horrible is getting very old, and considering that the Secondary unit helped their team get to the AFC Championship game . When you really think about it, they had two rookies starting in the backfield and both of them were essential that team getting as far as they did. How many teams with two rookies in the Secondary, got to a Conference final match last seaon? I can tell you only one team did. Secondly, why don’t people harp about the pass rush or lack thereof? In that Patriots game, Brady had so much time in the pocket, he could have fournicated with Gisele and still have enough time to complete a pass (view the first Chris Hogan touchdown). When you have a good pass rush, it generally helps the secondary; when you do, the receivers have time to adjust their routes and it really doesn’t matter who’s playing back there, completed passes are inevitable. So before we start harping about the Secondary, go back to those 9 straight games they won from November to January and see what they did right, before scrutinizing them profusely.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Only thing I disagree about is Ike didn’t get beat that often. If he did he wouldn’t of lasted 10+ years in the league. He also matched up on the other teams best WR and more than held his own

  • John Pennington

    Another player who can’t tackle haven’t the Steelers learn anything missed tackles and can’t tackle same thing.Draft two CBS who have tackling problems and can’t help to support the run that’s all we need.And they call this getting better not.

  • GoSteelerz

    Actually, the willingness is there. He was a wide receiver until a year or two ago. Once he learns the proper technique, it will come together for him. He already said he needs to and wants to work on it. I’m ok with that. I’m not ok when a guy shows a lack of want to. Like Sutton. Not a fan of that pick, but I am much more optimistic about this pick at this point. I certainly hope Sutton proves me wrong, but right now, Allen has shown the desire, now it’s up to the coaches to teach him.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    If Young Burns and Sean Davis can improve their tackling, this kid can too. I like what I see!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I mean when he first came into the league (I should’ve clarified).

    Ike is my all time favorite Steeler, so I’m very familiar with the stages of his progression. It took him two years to really learn how to cover NFL WR’s. By his 3rd year he became a starter and from there on he was pretty good.

    Ike could never catch the ball very well even when he knew when it was coming. But if he was covering a guy one on one, deep down the field, he almost never got “beat.” He would catch up by the time the ball got there.

  • Robert E Lil

    Just shaking my head.
    It’s crazy…going into another year …scrambling for a secondary. So bad they bring in Lewis (left unsigned). It’s embarrassing. The organization should be embarrassed

  • Linwood

    I hope the Steelers do not sign Lewis. The Saints DBS were worst than the Steelers.

  • SouthernSteel


  • Joeybaggadonuts

    True dat!!

  • SoCal Steeler

    Josh did the work. I just thought he sounded like a great day 3 double dip candidate. Glad we got him, he’s intriguing to say the least. At 6’3″ he can be the guy to cover the big WR’s and TE’s. Lets hope he develops. (same reply to Westcoasteeler)

  • Maxx Chakotay

    DAVE TE IS HERE-wait until you see Allen up close, you will swear Ike Taylor in his prime is out there. How’s this for an early draft prediction – next year, the Steelers draft the best CB they will have since Mel Blount – Denzel Ward out of Ohio State – kid just ran a 4.21 (on grass, not the smoking kind, so stop that) and takes over for Lattimore this year. If not the CB, they stay at OSU, as Sam Hubbard is probably the best DE OSU had had in ten years not named Bosa