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Not Your Uncle’s “Buck” Allen

Editor’s Note: This post was one of the entrants in our recent writing contest. Although it didn’t win, we did think it was well done and worth publishing. Think you have what it takes? Become a writer at RotoViz.

What if I told you there was a running back drafted in 2015 that had college production similar to Marshawn Lynch, only he’s bigger and more agile?

And that he has only a 29 year old journeyman ahead of him on the depth chart?

And that he can be had for a late second round dynasty rookie draft cost?

interested

Enter Javorius “Buck” Allen.

Here’s where we separate the men from the boys

RotoViz took a look at Allen’s prospects before the NFL draft and compared him to Le’Veon Bell. I used the Box Score Scout App and he looks a lot like a young Lynch to me.

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Below are the final college season rushing and receiving numbers for both Lynch and “Buck”:

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The rushing production is very similar but Allen is a better receiver coming out of college than Beast Mode was. Which leads us to his post-draft landing spot: Baltimore.

How many times a day does the dog eat?

Let’s take a look at Kevin Cole’s post-draft RB opportunity scores (OS).

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Judging by the collective ADPs of the Ravens backfield, it doesn’t appear that early off-season drafters view Justin Forsett as more than a one year wonder. His workout metrics on Player Profiler provide a glimpse into why he’s been with four teams in four seasons prior to 2015. Forsett will also turn 30 before the Ravens’ Week 6 clash with the 49ers. He did re-sign with the Ravens in March, but three-years, $9 million, is hardly a bell-cow type commitment.

Allen’s rookie season production may be minimal because there’s a new offensive coordinator in Baltimore and Marc Trestman does tend to lean on one back. However, Allen has the physical profile and pass catching skills to overtake Forsett. If given the same opportunities that Lorenzo Taliaferro and the since released Bernard Pierce squandered last season, “Buck” could grab the job as the lead dog and never look back.

He’s a little out there. But he’s responsible, and he’s family

According to the RotoViz 2015 Composite Rookie Rankings, “Buck” Allen checks in at 25th overall and the RB10 in his draft class.

Comparing a few of the situations with running backs ranked ahead of Allen:

  • David Cobb (RB9) needs to overtake a RotoViz favorite coming off a disappointing rookie season. With so many young players on this offense, I see three possible outcomes for Cobb: 1) He overtakes Sankey before the end of 2015 and grows with the offense; 2) He fails to overtake the more physically talented Sankey; 3) the GM and Head Coach are fired before any returns are received on Cobb and the new regime goes in another direction. Two of those three scenarios aren’t good for Cobb.
  • I don’t see how you can still rank Allen behind Jay Ajayi (RB8) on this list either. Because of his injury, there is very little hope for long term value, which sent his NFL draft stock into a free fall. In addition, the competition in the backfield with incumbent starter Lamar Miller and Damien Williams is a steep hill to climb when searching for short-term value.
  • At RB6 and RB7, two Johnsons with different opportunity paths in front of them. David Johnson (RB7) has a chance to eat into Andre Ellington’s workload. Ellington was given a chance to be the every-down back in 2014 for the Cardinals but wasn’t very efficient and played injured most of the year. The rotating carousel of incompetent QB play after Carson Palmer went down didn’t help the situation much either. David Johnson has the athletic profile to be a three-down dynamo. The unknown is how he will fair against NFL defenses on Sundays. Against Missouri Valley Conference competition he looked electric. Against the Big Ten’s Iowa his rushing day looked a lot like this:
  • Duke Johnson (RB6) has similar comparables to Lynch and Allen but landed in the worst possible spot for RB opportunity in Cleveland.1 Too much risk for that much draft equity.

Conclusion

Javorius “Buck” Allen has the physical talent, and perhaps opportunity, to become an immediate contributor to a dynasty team with the potential to be an RB1 in PPR leagues in the very near future. It’s also likely he’s as valuable, or more valuable, than the RBs ranked immediately ahead of him.

  1. See OS graph above  (back)

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