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Draft Prospect: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

| April 12th, 2019

For those of you who are new here, here’s how I handle the NFL Draft. I watch a bunch of college football and when players stand out to me, I put their name in the Notes app on my phone. I don’t do any research on them. Just put their names in there. Then, around now, I see if they’re actually in the draft and find out what professional scout-types think.


Video


Analysis

From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:

Hard-charging defensive end who calls on initial quickness, play strength and outstanding instincts to counter his lack of length and athleticism. Allen’s toughness and ability to diagnose quickly could allow him to play early as a run defender, but limitations as a rusher could push him inside on passing downs. He has average starter’s potential and could be in consideration by odd or even fronts at defensive end.
Strengths
  • Relentless effort from snap to whistle
  • High football IQ with instant play diagnosis
  • Usually first off snap with good initial burst
  • Disruptive penetrator in the B-gap
  • Double digit tackles for loss in three straight seasons
  • NFL-ready play strength to handle himself at point of attack
  • Eyes work around blockers and stay peeled on backfield
  • Hands and upper-body power to stack-shed
  • Forward lean for momentum into bull rush
  • Hard press to outside edge before making inside charge
  • Base strength to power through redirect blocks
  • Attentive in looking to challenge throwing lane with 19 batted passes over three years
  • Experienced as a reduced rusher

Weaknesses
  • Caught somewhere between 4-3 and 3-4 defensive end spots
  • Carries ordinary frame with shorter arms and bulky hips
  • Has to rely on effort over athleticism
  • Gets glued to blocks at times due to lack of length
  • Can be reached and secured by quick, play-side tackles
  • Below-average reactive quickness and change of direction to tackle
  • Marginal pursuit speed to sideline
  • Short-stepper who struggles to beat quicker tackles up the rush arc
  • Tight lower body prohibits desired edge-bending
  • Pass rush missing well-crafted, effective counters
  • Baited offsides by hard counts

My Two Cents

Cent #1: Allen is going to pay the price for not being a prototypical 4-3 end or 3-4 edge rusher. But I believe he can do either one and joining this defense – where little will be expected from him early – could be the ideal scenario for the former Eagle.

Cent #2: Two positives from his scouting report you just rarely see: he’s terrific at diagnosing what the offense is doing and he has NFL-ready strength. I won’t be surprised if Allen puts together a ten-year NFL career. He won’t be a star. But he’ll help you win games.

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