NFL: Russell Allen's variety show San Diego State's dire circumstances put LB Allen's versatility� on display By TOM SHANAHAN - For the North County Times | Monday, April 20, 2009 11:45 AM PDT ∞ Enter first comment.Increase FontDecrease Font email this story print this story Former San Diego State and Vista High linebacker Russell Allen is expected to be taken in the late rounds of next weekend's NFL draft. (Bill Wechter/Staff Photographer) SAN DIEGO ---- It was never Russell Allen's intention to use the shortcomings of the San Diego State football program to exploit his own versatility for NFL scouts. But through four years of playing various linebacker positions in a variety of defensive alignments and even appearing as a defensive end for an Aztecs team that at times struggled to compose a lineup, that's exactly what happened. Allen hopes to reap the rewards of the unintentional showcase his college career sometimes resembled when the two-day NFL draft begins Saturday. "That was never my thought process at the time. I was just thinking, 'What can I do to the help the team?,' " said Allen, a 6-foot-3 235 pounder from Vista High. "But, yeah, looking back on it, that might help me in the long run. It shows teams I'm capable of jumping into different spots and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team." Allen played in all 48 San Diego State games the past four season, starting 43. He appeared at inside and outside linebacker. He lined up in a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. He even started two games at defensive end as a senior when the Aztecs literally ran out of healthy defensive linemen against Notre Dame and San Jose State. "When I made a highlight film of him, I included three or four plays of him playing defensive end," said Allen's agent, Steve Caric, a former SDSU football player. "I did it because it shows him playing against 305-pound linemen, but still getting down the line of scrimmage, reading and reacting and making tackles. I thought they were good plays to show." No NFL scout sees Allen as a defensive end, of course, but the reviews are plenty mixed on whether his future is as an inside or outside linebacker. The Chargers, one of the teams he spent the most time with, as well as Miami and Dallas have told him he'll play inside linebacker in their 3-4 schemes if he ends up in their camp. Jacksonville, where former SDSU defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer is an assistant coach and is championing the player he once recruited out of Vista, views him as an outside linebacker in a 4-3, Allen said. So do Chicago and Indianapolis. Allen is projected by some scouting services as a sixth- or seventh-round pick. He may not be drafted at all. Caric thinks he has taken enough calls from interested teams that Allen might sneak into the fifth round. "You never know in the draft," Caric said. "But he is one of the best clients I've ever had. Sometimes you have to worry about out-working your client when you're doing everything you need to do to promote them. They take some time off after they go through the agent process. But Russell finished his season in November, and starting the next week he's trained every day. He's done everything he could have done to get ready for the draft." Caric has distributed information to NFL teams that lists Allen's 107 tackles in 2008 as third among draft-eligible linebackers, trailing only Ohio State's James Laurinaitis (121) and South Florida's Tyrone McKenzie (116). Here again, Allen's time at defensive end comes into play. "Imagine the numbers he would have put up if he wasn't playing defensive end," Caric said. "The other thing he's shown is he's durable. He wasn't injured in 48 games, and teams don't like to draft damaged goods." Allen's status as an honorable mention all-Mountain West Conference selection his senior year certainly isn't an impressive note for his NFL resume, but San Diego defensive coordinator Rocky Long believes that accolade is misleading. Long, the head coach the past 11 years at Mountain West foe New Mexico, says Allen was worthy of first-team honors, but SDSU's 2-10 record worked against him. "The teams that win get rewarded with most of the all-conference players, and I think that's the way it should be," Long said. "But he was deserving of being all-conference. I think he can be an outstanding pro player. He's got good instincts and is a really good player." Allen said other than dreaming about playing in the NFL as a kid, he never thought much about his pro chances until agents began contacting him. The next thing he knew he was sitting down with the likes of Chargers head coach Norv Turner in San Diego or shaking hands with NFL coaching legend Bill Parcells, now in the Miami Dolphins' front office. "He told me he had just been watching film of me," Allen said of Parcells. "I just want an opportunity, and I'm confident I will get one. Obviously, it would be a blessing to get drafted, but I just want a chance to play pro football."