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Broncos roster review: Outside Linebacker Christopher Allen

The Denver Broncos need pass rush. Can Christopher Allen find a role in this retooled defense?

NFL: Denver Broncos OTA Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you are an outside linebacker and have any talent at pass rushing at the NFL level, the Denver Broncos are an excellent team to enter training camp with.

The Broncos have loaded up recently with pass rushers having trouble staying healthy. This creates many opportunities for young edge guys to carve out a future on the team. The hard part here is that Allen was placed on injured reserve last season with a nagging Lisfranc injury from college.

Christopher Allen was signed as an undrafted college free agent and many were calling it a steal for the Broncos. He’s got twitch and speed that you can’t teach and looked like a player that just needed a bit of refinement to be able to make a real impact in the NFL.

Will a young 2nd-year linebacker be able to crack the starting rotation? Probably not.

But Allen may have the tools necessary to carve out a backup spot on the roster and keep developing into a player who can.

Height: 6’4” | Weight: 242 pounds | Age: 24 years old

Experience: 2 years | College: Alabama

How he fits with the Broncos

Allen is the prototypical undrafted free agent high-risk / high-reward player. The Broncos see a ton of potential in him akin to when they signed undrafted Shaquil Barrett in 2014.

He’s fast off the ball and the only knock we’ve seen on him has to do with technique (which is something that is correctable).

What he should be looking to do is show consistency, reliability, and impact on the field when he’s asked to step in to give one of our established pass rushers a breather.

The big question to me is will he be able to hold down the edge against the rush. In a backup role that’s likely a scenario he’ll face more often than not and he needs to be able to play the run as well as pass rush (or you end up with a Shane Ray type player who’s limiting to your defense).

Final Word

The big question here is can he stay healthy and is he fully recovered from his foot injury? The Broncos obviously like him and will develop him if he can just stay on the field and show growth.

It is going to be a tough hill to climb for him honestly. He’s got to beat out Nik Bonitto and Jonathan Cooper to make it. I find a more likely path for him being the practice squad for 2023.

That being said, he’s a player I’m intrigued by. I’d love to see another home-grown pass rusher evolve with the Broncos instead of constantly having to pay top dollar to bring in free agents. Only time will tell with Allen.