Kiper: MSU’s ‘overachiever’ Allen has NFL Draft shot

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

It’s been more than 70 years since Michigan State didn’t have a player selected in the NFL Draft, but it appears that streak could be in jeopardy this year.

The NFL will hold its annual draft beginning April 26, and until then, a handful of Spartans will be doing their best to prove they deserve to hear their name called. At the top of that list is center Brian Allen, who has drawn positive reviews this week in practices for Saturday’s East-West Shrine game.

Allen (6-foot-2, 302 pounds) was named second-team All-Big Ten three straight seasons and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Allen can be a late-round pick.

“With Brian Allen, just a hard-working overachiever type, my ninth-highest rated center,” Kiper said Thursday. “Probably puts him in the late-round category, a late-rounder (or) priority free agent for Brian Allen.

“But there’s a chance he could go in the sixth-, seventh-round area.”

Allen, whose brother, Jack, has spent the last two season with the New Orleans Saints, played in 51 career games at Michigan State, starting 38. His versatility helps, as he started 17 games at center, 16 at left guard and five at right guard.

According to Chase Goodbread of, Allen has been one of the top players this week in St. Petersburg, Fla. He reported that one AFC scout said Allen has a strong shot at an NFL career because of his technique and understanding of leverage as an interior blocker.

“Monday was a little shaky just getting the playbook down and getting everyone on the same page,” Allen told, adding he’s heard from about 20 teams this week. “But we’ve gotten a lot better. It’s all stuff I did at Michigan State, it’s just matching the terminology they give us to what I know.”

Other Michigan State players that are hoping to be drafted include linebacker Chris Frey, defensive end Demetrius Cooper and running back Gerald Holmes.