Could safety Nate Allen be a first-rounder?
Again, it's four more months before college football season even starts, but with another major site putting out a super-early 2010 mock first round, we can ask a question: Could USF have two first-round picks next spring?
The consensus in all these mock drafts -- which certainly borrow from one another -- is that defensive end George Selvie enters his senior year as a first-round pick. But ESPN.com's Todd McShay -- who has Selvie as the No. 14 pick in his projected first round -- also has safety Nate Allen cracking the first round as his No. 25 pick.
"Allen is a bit of an unknown prospect at this point, but he possesses the size, athleticism and ball skills to emerge as a Day 1 prospect a year from now," McShay writes about Allen.
Allen had a breakout year as a sophomore in 2007, when he was a turnover machine, with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries, with two takeaways returned for touchdowns. After cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams graduated, Allen had a quieter 2008 season, though his interception and return late against Kansas set up the game-winning field goal for the Bulls. His tackles were down from 76 in 2007 to 53 last season, and the Kansas pick was his only takeaway of the season.
As a senior this fall, Allen will have a leadership role on a defense that should be one of the Big East's best, providing the Bulls can find solid starters at outside linebacker. Remember, though, that safety isn't always a high priority in the draft -- there were no safeties in the first round in 2009, and none until the final pick of the first round in 2008; there were three in 2007.
Can Allen show enough to make himself a first-round pick? Could USF, with just one first-round pick in its history, have two in the same class? Again, there's nearly an entire year to ponder this. Just something to think about ..