Clemson's Allen, Branch work out for NFL personnel
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)
Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen and defensive end Andre Branch worked out for nearly four dozen pro personnel on Thursday, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.
Allen, considered by the some top tight end available in next month's NFL draft, chose Thursday not to try and improve his disappointing time of 4.89 seconds he ran at the league's scouting combine two weeks ago in Indianapolis.
''I'm a ballplayer, flat out. I'm not a track guy,'' Allen said Thursday after Clemson's pro day. ''My 40 time is what it is. If you watch me on film I play way faster. That's all that matters.''
Allen and Branch, the Atlantic Coast Conference leader with 10 1-2 sacks this past season, were the top attractions for the 44 NFL personnel on hand.
Ryan, in a green Jets jacket, laughed and smiled with other NFL evaluators. He also worked out Branch for a few moments before he and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum rushed off once the nearly four-hour session ended.
''I've got to be somewhere,'' Ryan said as he left Memorial Stadium.
Both Allen and Branch are considered potential first-round selections for April's draft.
Branch didn't attempt to run the 40-yard dash again either, preferring to stand on his stellar time of 4.70 seconds from last month.
''I did great at the combine,'' he said. ''I felt like my numbers improved.''
There were 20 former Tigers, including ex-NFL linebacker Anthony Waters, who worked out. Along with the 40-yard dash, players were asked to do shuttle drills before breaking to position-specific tasks.
On the sidelines with Clemson football coaches and officials were a handful of former players currently on NFL rosters, like Tampa Bay defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Tennessee running back Jamie Harper and Indianapolis linebacker Kavel Connor.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney expects that roster of NFL players from Clemson to grow next season.
''Heck, we have more NFL players here than prospects,'' he said. ''That's awesome.''
Those watching the workouts also included a couple of current members of Clemson's ACC championship squad who'll likely draw scouts in the next couple of years in record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and center Dalton Freeman. The Tigers opened spring football practice this past Wednesday.
''That's the culture that you want to create and work really hard at fostering that,'' Swinney said.
Allen ran through pass-catching drills with ex-Clemson quarterback Willy Korn. Other Tiger players with a chance to be drafted next month are defensive tackle Brandon Thompson and defensive Coty Sensabaugh.
Thompson, a 316 pounds, ran a 4.9-second time in the 40, a performance that brought cheers and calls of congratulations. ''I think I helped myself,'' Thompson said.
Branch said he's spoken to about 20 NFL squads and will spend the next few weeks keeping in shape and interviewing with interested teams.
The main attraction, though, was Allen, the record-setting tight end who had 50 catches and eight touchdowns last season. Allen gave up his senior season to turn pro.
Allen doesn't care where he goes.
''Hopefully, I'll land on a team that'll use me,'' he said. ''That's all that matters.''
It's been a busy few months since Allen finished up Clemson's season in the Orange Bowl, turned pro and began training for the combine and pro day. He's ready for some down time.
''It's been a long season,'' he said. ''I haven't had time to heal.''
Allen didn't talk with the Jets coach this visit, but met him two weeks ago at the combine and was instantly charmed by him. Allen said he was just like others out there who judged Ryan by some of his headline-grabbing antics and comments.
''When you meet him in person, you love this guy. He's great. I can definitely see how he gets his players to play for him,'' Allen said.
So Allen's ready to become a Jet?
''I can see myself with any team out there right now,'' Allen said with a laugh.