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Could Texas Tech’s Dakota Allen bring some much-needed speed to the Giants’ linebacking corps?

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Is Dakota Allen the rangy, athletic linebacker the Giants’ defense needs?

NCAA Football: Houston at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The nature of offense is changing in the NFL. Thanks to a number of influences, offenses are adopting a number of strategies and concepts from the college ranks, relying on on spacing and speed to stress defenses. And as a natural response, the NFL defense has had to adjust, most notably by getting smaller, faster, and more flexible than in years past.

The New York Giants need to upgrade the talent at every level of their defense, which includes adding more speed to the middle of their defense. They were gashed by running backs and tight ends over the middle, and the team could be looking to upgrade UDFA nickel linebacker Tae Davis. If so, Texas Tech’s Dakota Allen could be the athletic coverage and blitzing linebacker the team has lacked.

Measurables

Pros

  • Highly athletic linebacker. Flies around the field when he commits.
  • Aggressive, fiery blitzer.
  • Hard hitter and physical taking blockers.
  • Fluid dropping into zone coverage, able to run with pass catchers in man coverage.
  • Shows the ability to “click and close”.
  • Reacts quickly to the offense.

Cons

  • Doesn’t appear to be overly instinctive.
  • Can get caught up in the trash.
  • Struggles to shed blockers.
  • Was dismissed from TTU in 2016 after being arrested for burglary (charges were dismissed)

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Allen is an inside linebacker with good toughness and intangibles but lacks the speed and instincts teams look for in the middle. He plays with good short-area quickness and a willingness to stick his nose into oncoming traffic in order to leverage his gap and set his teammates up for success. With adequate athleticism and the potential to become a core special teamer, Allen could hear his name called in the later rounds of the draft.

- Lance Zierlein (NFL.com - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

If the Giants want to upgrade Tae Davis and add a “new age” athletic linebacker to their defense, Dakota Allen would be a good choice.

He has the kind of range and speed the Giants have lacked in the middle of their defense, with the athleticism to drop into both man and zone coverage. He is also a capable run defender when the defensive line does a good job of occupying blockers, and flies downhill when asked to blitz.

While Allen is quick to react to the offense, he isn’t the most instinctive defender and that can be used against him. He can be prone to being manipulated by offensive misdirection, and might be best suited to being a sub-package player to start his career -- though he might be able to grow into a larger role.

The NFL will want to do an in-depth background check on him after he was dismissed from Texas Tech back in 2016 after being arrested for burglary (including the theft of firearms). The charges were eventually dismissed, and he earned his way back to Texas Tech in 2017 after enrolling in East Mississippi Community College. At EMCC he racked up 117 tackles, which he followed up with 175 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and 6 passes defensed in 2017 and 2018 since returning to Texas Tech.

Assuming Allen doesn’t have any lingering character concerns, the Giants could make good use of one of their many day three picks by selecting him. His athleticism and physicality would be welcome on both the Giants’ defense and their special teams.