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2012 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: Chargers 2nd Round Pick

Clemson Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Clemson Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Over at Mocking the Draft, they have been running a Mock Draft polling the SBNation writers for each blog to get each of their selections. They have 3 teams make picks each day and then a few days later post an article with a writeup from the team's blog as well as their site manager Dan Kadar. A few days ago I made the Chargers 2nd round selection and picked Clemson Junior TE Dwayne Allen. Here's what I said about the pick.

There are a number of players available here for the Chargers to like including a couple of pass rushers and running backs. The Chargers currently don't have a lot of room on the depth chart for anything more than a project at OLB and that perhaps isn't the best use of a 2nd round pick. The team does have a hole at backup RB, but the top players available aren't the best compliments to current starter Ryan Mathews. Instead, the Bolts will go elsewhere for help where there is similar value at this point in the draft and that can contribute now and in the future. That player is TE Dwayne Allen out of Clemson. A.J. Smith has talked this offseason about making the offense dominant enough to keep other teams off the field and Norv Turner is one of the best at scheming ways to occupy safeties. Adding another threat at TE can only help that. It allows Antonio Gates to shift outside some and create matchup problems. It also provides insurance for years to come against any future injuries to Gates. Allen isn't a finished product and might take time to get on the field consistently, but that shouldn't be a problem early in the season with the other offensive weapons available. But as he improves, so should the offense. Expect the RB position to be addressed in the next couple rounds and that project at OLB to come later. Some offensive line depth is still a priority as well.

As opposed to my first round pick, where I went against the Mocking The Draft rankings, Dwayne Allen was listed as one of their best available. I mention my thoughts on selecting a pass rusher, but as the pick got close there was one that stood out that I would take above Allen or any of my other considerations for the pick. Unfortunately, the Patriots and their similar need for 3-4 pass rushers selected Shea McClellin one pick earlier. It's annoying the real draft when the Chargers select right behind the Pats and it's annoying in a mock draft too.

Unlike with first round pick Mark Barron, I don't have a long love affair with Allen. I didn't get to watch many Clemson games this year, which was kind of odd since I watched so many the previous two years, and I didn't spend a lot of time scouting him in previous years. Nevertheless, the reports are good as Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft mentions:

Allen is arguably the best all-around tight end in this year's class. He's a better blocker than Stanford's Coby Fleener and has a penchant for spectacular catches. Allen gets knocked for a lack of production, but that's more of a product of the Clemson spread offense. This is a great pick because Gates has shown over recent seasons that he can't stay healthy. When he's been out, the Chargers haven't had a viable backup who can make a difference in the pass game.

They also did a full scouting report on him that was also published today. Here is their "Final Word" on the prospect:

Final word: Following a junior season of 50 receptions and eight touchdowns, Allen turned pro. He doesn't have the size, speed or athleticism of Stanford's Coby Fleener, but he's a better all-around tight end. He's a good blocker, in line and on the move, makes spectacular catches and has good on-field speed. Allen considered transferring before the 2011 season and has been an outspoken player in the past. That may turn off some coaches.

I did write up a scouting report for the Junior TE before his bowl game back in January:

Good size and speed, but sometimes doesn't take advantage of it when he lets the ball get to his body. He has big hands though and should use those more to keep defenders away from his catches. Good leg drive and can carry defenders on run after the catch. He's got some quickness to help make defenders miss as well. Changes speeds well, which helps him find holes in zone defenses. Blocking is little bit of a weakness. (2nd round)

Full disclosure, I've been excited about the possibility of drafting a second TE for a while. Seeing a team like the Patriots use two TEs to great effectiveness last year only encouraged this though. I don't want to reach for a guy, but in this mock Allen fell to the Chargers nicely. If he had gone earlier, there's no way I select the next best TE here. I'd have probably gone with the best OLB, RB or OT since those positions all had players with value here and would happen to fit team needs.