Updated: May 4
Washington had an obvious theme to their draft, which was addressing positions of need and focusing on prospects with a minimum 4 years of college experience (some have a least 5 years).
Post draft, Ron Rivera has signed over a dozen undrafted free agents and another half dozen received invites to the Commanders rookie mini camp.
One spot that is a position of need is reliable and explosive special teams returner. Recently signed UCLA UDFA Kazmeir Allen can fill that role and provides position flex as a WR/RB gadget option, similar to Curtis Samuel.
5'8" 176 lbs | WR/RB | UCLA
Undrafted FA WSH
Career (36 Games)- 80 rec for 762 yds 7 TDs (9.5 per rec)
68 rush att for 550 yds & 4 TDs (8.1 yds per carry)
*Kick Ret- 39 ret for 1,054 yds & 1 TD (27.0 yds per ret)
'22 Stats (11 Games)- 49 rec for 403 yds 3 TDs (8.9 per rec)
15 rush att for 203 yds & 2 TDs (13.5 yds per carry)
*Kick Ret-18 ret for 442 yds (24.6 yds per ret)
Allen grew up in Tulare, CA attending Tulare Union HS and was a three sport letterman in football, baseball and track.
Allen set the California state record in the 100m, winning the event (10.44 sec) in track & field during the 2018 CIF State Track and field Championships.
As a senior, the Tulare Union running back rushed for 3,336 on 255 attempts for 62 TDs, caught 29 passes for 833 yards and 9 TDs. In addition, Allen had 11 kick returns for a 4.5 yards per return.
Allen broke the California High School scoring record with 72 total TDs during his senior season and accumulated over 8,900 all-purpose yards during his high school career.
Allen rushed for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons with 34 total touchdowns, during his junior year and 13 TDs as a sophomore.
The Tulare Union back was named a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com and #9 all-purpose back in the country.
During the college recruiting process, Arizona, Arizona St., Nevada, Boise State, California, Wisconsin, USC and UCLA all showed interest in Allen. He ultimately decided to stay in state and accepted the offer to pay for the Bruins.
As a freshman in 2018, Allen was active in 9 games as a reserve RB. He rushed for 188 yards on 30 attempts and 1 TD, in addition he had 7 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD.
Allen's season highlight came vs Cincinnati (9/1/18) when he ran for a 74 yards and 1 touchdown, which ranks as the third longest rush total as a Bruins true freshman.
Over the next two seasons (2019 & 2020) Allen was only active in 6 games as a reserve running back, after dealing academic issues and COVID. He registered 66 rushing yards on 15 attempts and 7 receptions for 69 yards. For the third consecutive season, Allen wasn't used as a retuneer, but all that would change in '21.
In 2021 Allen was active in all 12 games (2 starts). On the season, Allen rushed for 93 yards on 8 attempts with 1 TD and hauled in 17 receptions for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns (15.0 yards per rec).
Bruins coaches finally decided to utilize Allen as their primary kick returner in '21 and it paid off. Allen finished the season with 612 kick returns yards and 1 TD (29.1 per return).
Allen finished the regular season ranked #17 in the NCAA in combined kick return yardage (612) and 1st in the PAC-12 in kick return average.
His best game to date came in UCLA's win vs USC (11/20/21). In the matchup, Allen accounted for 278 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns (163 ret yards) on 7 touches. The play of the game took place when Allen took a 100-yard kick return to the house.
For his efforts, Allen was named to the 2nd-Team All-Pac-12 as a kick returner per PFF.
Last season Allen was active in 11 games with 9 starts at WR (1 start at RB vs ARZ St.). On the season, he set career marks with 49 receptions for 403 yards receiving with 3 scores and 203 yards rushing with 2 TDs (13.5 per run avg). He also had a career best 137 yards rushing against Arizona State.
Allen had at least 4 catches in 7 games during the 2022 season.
Although his kick return numbers weren't as good as '21, he did have a 24.6 per return average with 18 attempts for 442 yards last season. His return numbers ranked him #21 in the nation and #3 in the PAC-12.
Although his timed speedy isn't noteworthy (4.53 sec forty) he was rarely caught from behind, displaying impressive breakaway speed in the open field
Explosive after the catch/return with the lateral quickness needed to excel
Although only returned kickoffs in college, displays soft hands with exceptional coordination to excel as a punt returner
Surprisingly decent blocker in space for his size, often pushing bigger defenders off their mark
Offers versatility as a sub-package RB, WR & Returner
Overall route running requires refinement and straight line speed won't allow him to be used strictly on go-routes
Needs to be more aggressive with contested catches
Slender build could cap his overall ceiling on offense
Doesn't offer yards after contact and routinely brought down after initial contact
Minimal statistical production and starting experience are lacking
Many projected Allen to be a late day 3 selection and run a sub 4.4 second forty, but his pro day sub 4.5 second second forty likely caused him to go undrafted.
Fact is Allen plays a lot quicker than his timed speed. He displays excellent burst in the open field with the wiggle and second gear to create after the catch/run. His understanding of how to effectively follow his blockers, bodes well for him on the next level.
Allen was only a full-time starter at WR for one season, in which he lined up in the slot in UCLA's spread scheme. Questions remain if he can be a consistent contributor at receiver on the next level or just as a sub-package linebacker. In saying that, his ability as a kick returner is what can secure him a roster spot in Washington.
He'll likely have to show he can also handle punt return duties, in order to secure a roster spot. Allen's skill set should lead to a smooth transition as a returner & potential gadget back in the NFL, which could lead to a bright future in Washington.
*Games Watched- 11/20/21 vs USC, 9/3/22 vs Bowling Green, 9/17 vs S.Alabama, 10/8 vs Utah, 11/5 vs Arizona St. & 11/19 vs USC