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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: LB Dakota Allen has what it takes to be a starter

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Allen earned his redemption after being kicked out of Texas Tech. Now, he’s on his way to earning a starting spot.

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

By now, most of us know Los Angeles Rams LB Dakota Allen’s story: kicked out of Texas Tech after being charged with second-degree felony burglary, forced to play his redshirt sophomore season at East Mississippi Community College in hopes of attracting another Division I offer, and finally returned to the place where it all started — Lubbock, Texas.

Allen finished his final two seasons with the Red Raiders as the leader of the defense and gained the attraction of NFL scouts. The Rams liked him enough to use their final pick on him.

A chance. That’s all Allen really needs.

Roster Battle

With LB Cory Littleton cemented as a starter with LB Clay Matthews and LB Micah Kiser likely filling up the other inside linebacking spot, Allen will have to prove his worth in two ways — as a viable backup or as a capable starter that can take the field in certain situations. It shouldn’t be difficult for Allen, who is a strong, athletic and versatile linebacker. In my opinion, he is capable of overtaking Bryce Hager’s spot.

Expectations

Allen was one of the best pass-defending linebackers in the nation, and it’s likely he can adapt his defensive skills against the NFL passing game. Allen is also a sure-tackler and a solid defender against the run.

His final season at Texas Tech earned him an honoree slot on the First Team All-Big 12. Through 10 games, he made 61 tackles, 5.5 TFL and two pass deflections. His best seasons were in 2016 with EMCC (117 tackles) and 2017 (101 tackles).

Chances of making the roster (9/10)

If you’ve watched Last Chance U, you know that the guys who went from Division I to EMCC hardly ever attract the same kind of offers they did when they were high school recruits. Allen not only received the same caliber offers, he was given another shot by Texas Tech and he gave the Red Raiders a great return on their investment in him.

That kind of tenacity is difficult to ignore, and it’s likely going to be the engine that drives Allen into a spot on the final 53-man roster this year. He’s a capable linebacker who will become an NFL starter soon, if not this year.