Chiefs go with OL depth in second round of draft
Friday, April 27, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Illinois offensive tackle Jeff Allen with their second-round pick Friday night, giving them additional depth along their offensive line.
The Chiefs picked the 6-foor-4, 307-pound Allen with the No. 44 selection. He was part of a run on offensive linemen in which five were taken with the first 12 picks of the second round.
The four-year starter at Illinois spent time on the right side as a freshman and moved to the left side as a sophomore, starting 47 games over the course of his career. He also flashed some versatility by moving to guard at the Senior Bowl, a position he could play with the Chiefs.
"They just see me as a versatile guy who they can plug in," Allen said. "I see myself as a versatile guy who can play multiple positions along the line."
The Chiefs are fairly established on the edge of the line. Branden Albert has developed into a solid tackle, and Eric Winston was signed a free agent to man the other position.
Their more pressing need is at offensive guard.
Jon Asamoah, who played on the same line with Allen at Illinois, is firmly entrenched on the right side, but Ryan Lilja struggled periodically on the left. Allen will be counted on to provide depth all across the line, and could eventually move into the starting lineup.
"I didn't play guard one single game at Illinois. I showed the ability to play guard at the Senior Bowl," he said. "A lot of teams liked that potential and the Chiefs did, too."
The Chiefs selected defensive tackle Dontari Poe with the No. 11 pick on Thursday night before going with an offensive lineman in the second round for the second straight year.
Rodney Hudson was the No. 55 overall selection last season. He played in all 16 games on special teams, and also made one start at left tackle, showing enough ability that he's expected to slide into the starting lineup at center this season.
Allen will likely follow a similar path by learning behind Lilja and Asamoah.
"When I came to Illinois, I started as a true freshman, and I was right next to him," Allen said of Asamoah, whom he described as one of his good friends.
"He was right guard and I was right tackle, and he was one of the guys that carried me, that kind of showed me the ropes," Allen said. "He just taught me that consistency you have to bring, especially at that level. You have to be consistent, and it's the same way in the NFL."