We all know Zach Allen by now. He was the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school and has been a defensive star at Boston College over the last few years. He’s a grinder, a fan favorite, and going to be an NFL player.
After seeing very limited action as a freshman, Allen saw more substantial game time as a sophomore. He totaled 36 tackles with 10 for losses that season, primarily rotating behind Kevin Kavalec and Harold Landry at DE.
In the last two years in particular he’s really blossomed as a player. As a junior opposite Harold Landry and firmly entrenched as the starter, Allen put up 100 total tackles, 15.5 TFL, and 4 sacks. And though his senior year stats fell slightly because he was the center of attention for opposing teams, he continued to grow as a player. It’s not bad when you regress to 61 tackles, 15 TFL, and 6.5 sacks (and a whopping 7 passes batted down. Scouts are very impressed with his swatting skills, which you can read more about here).
Allen finishes his BC career with 199 tackles, 40.5 TFL, and 16.5 sacks in four years, as well as being All-ACC 2nd team this most recent year.
Weight: 281 lbs
40 Time: 5.00s
Three Cone: 7.34s
Bench: 24 reps
He’s a consensus top 40 prospect across basically every draft website, projected to go in the late first or second round. He’ll likely be the second Eagle off the board after OG Chris Lindstrom.
There’s a lot to like about Allen’s game. He’s big, strong, and skilled. At 281lbs with loooooooooooooong arms, he’s big enough to play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 anywhere between the 3 and 5 tech depending on down and distance. So long as his hand is in the dirt, he’ll fit the system.
He’s relentless as a run defender. His motor and skill with his hands lets him beat blocks after he sets the edge all game long. Against Wake Forest this last season, he played 107 snaps, a record for a college defensive lineman per PFF. Together, it makes him a top tier prospect against the run. As a pass rusher, Allen’s a power guy. His initial power at the snap is impressive, and he’s showed it against top end talent in the ACC.
Allen’s not a perfect prospect, however. He doesn’t yet have a lot of pass rushing moves (but that can be taught!) He grew wonderfully under Paul Pasqualoni, and I think that once he can commit full time to football his skills as a pass rusher will grow exponentially.
He also doesn’t have that twitch you see from top end pass rushers. Part of this is his limited athleticism. But another part is that he’s been a workhorse for the Eagles. Allen rarely came off the field, so at the next level where he can rotate in-and-out of games I think his burst will be better.
Allen a high floor guy with pass rush potential and versatility, and I think that will lead to him getting picked in the first 50 picks come the NFL draft. NFL teams know he’s going to be a stud in the run game, and some are surely going to think they can coach him up in the “throw game.”
It’s hard to project who will take him, since he fits in so well in so many places. It seems unlikely that he’d slip past the Cowboys at 58 at the absolute worst. But he could go to the Patriots as high at 32 or the Chiefs at 29. The Lions could reconnect him with Pasqualoni. You get my point.
Wherever he goes, Allen will be a great pro and excellent representation of BC Athletics. Thanks Zach, and go Eagles!