Check out photos from Day 11 of Phase 2 of the Los Angeles Rams offseason workout program.
Rookie offensive lineman Brian Allen is a finisher.
Highlights of college offensive lineman aren't always that fun to watch. But take a look at Allen's and you'll see shot after shot of the Michigan State product driving his opponent into the ground.
The 22-year-old offensive lineman said this week that tenacity comes in large part from his history as a wrestler.
"On a wrestling mat it's one on one, so you have that mentality that it's kind of you versus them. And people who haven't played individual sports like that haven't kind of understood the successes and failures that come with that," Allen said. "So, any wrestler has that mentality that they can't lose or it's on them. Even though it's a team sport and I approach it as a team sport, you still have the individual battle in the back of your mind.
"If I'm screwing up not only am I going to be mad at myself, but it's going to affect the team," Allen continued. "I just take pride in trying to win my individual battles and I think that's what comes from the wrestling."
Allen won enough of those battles in college to impress the Rams' brass into drafting him at No. 111 overall in the fourth round. And with it, Allen kept alive a significant streak — Michigan State has had a player selected in the NFL Draft for 78 consecutive years.
"It did [mean something to me], but at the same time that decision wasn't up to me, so I just could work as hard as I could," Allen said. "I didn't feel any pressure like I had to or what not, it was just something that was going on. I didn't really think about it too much because it, again, was out of my hands. I didn't want to really want to worry about that or anything like that. I'm just grateful it happened for our school that we could keep that going."
One factor that may ease Allen's transition to the NFL is the offensive lineman's experience in a pro-style system at Michigan State. That experience gives Allen a bit of an advantage compared to those who come from spread offenses. But Allen isn't making too much of it.
"We played a pro-style offense there and in the Big Ten, there's a lot of good guys," Allen said. "But like anything — jumping from high school to college — the guys are going to get bigger and stronger, speed is going to be a little faster. I'm expecting the same thing here, so just have to get acclimated with that and keep getting better."
Now that he's in the building as a Ram, Allen said his first impressions of run game coordinator Aaron Kromer have been positive.
"He's very hands on and obviously knows what he's talking about with the guys upfront and the success they've had," Allen said. "Just working with him today and working on the little details and stuff like that was cool to pick up new techniques right away from him. Looking forward to getting a lot better with him as we move forward."
One way to improve will be to square off against the Rams' formidable defensive lineman. That can't happen until training camp in a couple months when the players have on pads. But it's something Allen is looking forward to.
"A lot of people have said, 'Yeah, have fun with that,' or stuff like that. I'm sure I'll get my butt kicked a time or two here, but again at the end of the day I'm going to learn from that and get better," Allen said. "If I can get a little better at one area against one of those guys, it's just going to help me down the road. So, I'm excited for it and it's something that makes this team better — having guys like that to compete with."