Missouri Western's Allen grows into a draft prospect
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
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They saw this 6-foot-2 3/4 , 326-pound guy with quick feet and amazing strength and kept asking Allen two questions:
Who are you …?
And more important: Why didn’t you play for Missouri?
“I said it was their fault,” Allen says now laughing. “They slept on me. Ask them.”
Actually, the Roger Allen who came out of Raytown High School in 2004 was not the same Roger Allen who started a school-record 48 straight games at right guard for Missouri Western and was a Division II All-American.
That Roger Allen was a raw, 250-pound high school senior. This Roger Allen was a three-time All-MIAA selection and a likely mid-to-late-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
“I definitely believe I progressed leaps and bounds since I was in high school, mentally and physically,” Allen said. “I’m a totally different person.”
Allen was among a select group of Division II players who attended the NFL combine, but he was unable to work out because he was recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia that he suffered during the Texas vs. Nation All-Star Game in January.
“That was a killer,” Allen said of the combine. “It’s something you watch every year on TV, and I was looking forward to going there for a while, and when I got there, to have to sit around and watch … it was bittersweet. It was great that I was there, but it was bitter because I couldn’t do anything.
“I kept getting calls from friends and family asking where I was because they were looking for me on TV. If they didn’t have NFL Network, they ordered it and tried to watch. I told them I was there, but they couldn’t see me.”
Once healthy, Allen made up for lost time. He performed well at Missouri’s pro day, highlighted by bench-pressing 225 pounds 38 times, which would have been second at the combine only to the 39 repetitions by Texas Tech’s Louis Vasquez.
That was followed by Missouri Western’s pro day that attracted scouts from six teams, including the Chiefs.
“The scouts wanted to make sure I was healthy and can perform at a high level,” said Allen, who has been compared to Chiefs Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters. “Not only did I do that, but I was able to put up some good times that compare to the rest of the guards in the draft class and cemented myself into getting into a draftable position.
“I’ve always been a Chiefs fan ever since I was little. To be drafted by the Chiefs would be huge. It would be a childhood-dream-come-true. I’m excited to play in the NFL, period. It doesn’t matter where I go.”
Allen helped the Griffons to the postseason in all four of his seasons — three trips to the Mineral Water Bowl and one appearance in the Division II playoffs. As a senior, he was called for just two penalties in 741 offensive snaps, both for holding.
“One call was real questionable,” Allen said. “It was a pancake … the ref called a holding against Pittsburg State.”
Though he allowed just one sack and two pressures in 389 pass plays in college, Allen realizes he has to improve his pass-blocking ability if he expects to become the first player from Raytown High School to make it in the NFL.
“My biggest adjustment will be dealing with pass rushers,” he said. “I know they’re much better and faster and stronger pass rushers, and I’m definitely going to work on my technique to better combat those guys.”
At Missouri Western, Allen spent two years as a teammate with tight end Gijon Robinson, who signed as a rookie free agent in 2007 with Indianapolis. Robinson started 14 games last season with the Colts and caught 19 passes as a second tight end.
“Gijon Robinson is a huge inspiration,” Allen said. “He is who I model my game after. He was known for finishing his blocks and demolishing people. He graduated my sophomore year, and I made up my mind, with all the attention he was getting from the NFL, if I was going to make it to the NFL, I had to block like him.
“I started blocking like him, finishing my blocks, focusing on driving a guy all the way to the ground and got the same kind of attention. I think it paid off for me, looking up to Gijon.”
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To reach Randy Covitz, NFL reporter for The Star, call 816-234-4796 or send e-mail to email@example.com