Draft day - Jared Allen
Draft day - Jared Allen
By Marcus Nelson
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
When Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger is recruiting quarterbacks, he shows prospects three framed Sports Illustrated covers with pictures of some of the NFL quarterbacks he has developed.
Next to the images of Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde is a blank space for a fourth cover for his next great pro quarterback.
Jared Allen has a long way to go before he is mentioned in the same breath of the former University of Miami greats, but Allen could becomethe first FAU player taken in the NFL Draft this weekend.
Allen appears to have a shot to be selected in later rounds on Sunday. If he isn't, he is certain to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent next week.
"I'm not sure what will happen so the main thing I have been training for is just to get to rookie camp," Allen said by telephone this week from his hometown of Edmond, Okla., where he has been working out since graduating from FAU in December. "Whether that is after I am drafted in the fifth, sixth or seventh round it doesn't matter. I have to be just be ready when I get there."
Allen's knowledge of the pro-style offense favored by Schnellenberger is attractive to NFL teams.
"He understands the offense to the depths of a Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Browning Nagle or Jeff Brohm," Schnellenberger said. "It's always been a blessing to be in this system."
Allen said teams seem to be interested his intangibles and decision-making as much as his strong arm and his 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame.
"I would tell teams what I would bring is knowledge and experience in a pro style-offense and I think that has helped," Allen said.
While Allen came to FAU wanting to be the fourth face on Schnellenberger's wall, he knew it was a long shot. The Owls struggled their first two seasons, and Allen struggled as the offense searched for momentum.
But in 2003, Allen and FAU had a breakout season. Allen threw for 2,827 yards and 24 touchdowns and led the Owls to an 11-3 record.
"After my junior season, I started notice scouts coming out and were grading me" Allen said. "Then I started hearing I was grading higher by some teams than guys at bigger schools."
Allen was invited to the NFL combine and played in the Hula Bowl, an all-star game for college seniors.
He was also invited to workout for the Dolphins last month and has had countless interviews with NFL teams.
Long snapper Brian Pare, a Spanish River graduate, was signed as an undrafted free agent by Chicago last season and participated in the Bears' mini-camp and pre-season training camps before being cut.
"It would be really cool to be the first player drafted from FAU," Allen said. "It would be an honor and hope to start something for the future. We see them on TV from big schools, but players at FAU are just as good as some of those guys."