(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Penn State's Marcus Allen.)
- Name: Marcus Allen
- Position: Safety
- College:Penn State
- Height/Weight:6-2 / 215
- Honors:All-Big Ten as a junior and senior, including first-team honors in 2017. Also a 2017 semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back.
- Key Stat:Allen became only the fifth Penn State player to record 300 career tackles, according to the school's official web site.
Where He's Projected:
At this early stage in the pre-draft process, Allen is generally considered a mid-round prospect who might go as early as the third round. He received an invite to next week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Determining roles, and potential needs, is a little difficult right now until new defensive backs coach Kris Richard puts his imprint on the secondary. There's a chance the Cowboys move safety Byron Jones back to corner, and if so, perhaps a solid box defender such as Allen would be a fit. Allen was terrific against the run in college and presumably would help on special teams, but he wasn't a takeaway machine at Penn State – only one interception in 52 career games.
- Good wrap-up tackler. Has a nose for the ball.
- Very physical player. Has a real feel for how to finish.
- Has to be careful how aggressive he is in space because he'll tend to overrun the play.
- Not a great athlete and you see that in the way that he plays.
- Not always going to be the best in coverage, but not a huge liability either.
- Takes him a little time to get going when he turns and runs.
- Better player when he can play near the line as opposed to deep.