Detroit Lions Draft: An Offensive Lineman for Every Round

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Third Round: Jack Allen, center, Michigan State

Here’s a player folks in the Mitten State know well. And for many of us who have seen him play in person or watched Spartans games religiously, seeing Allen still available in the third round probably seems crazy good fortune.

Yet that’s precisely where he is projected, the third or fourth round, by respectable places like CBS Sports and Bleacher Report. Never mind that he is a better left tackle prospect than touted/grossly overrated teammate Jack Conklin (yeah, I said it) or that he’s fared quite well against a cadre of very skilled Big Ten defensive tackles over the years.

Allen had a stellar high school wrestling career, and the leverage and hand placement he learned in that sport translates wonderfully to the gridiron. The only real knock is that he doesn’t always maintain his blocks, a function of shorter-than-optimal arms.

I would speculate Allen would win the center job from the uneven Travis Swanson by the end of his first training camp. Remember, Swanson was a college guard. Allen would take over the pivot and Swanson slides to being the top reserve interior lineman, a role he could handle with experienced aplomb.

Next: A Stud From the FCS