Greg Gabriel early 2019 NFL Draft breakdown: Boston College DL Zach Allen

August 27, 2018 GMT

There are some players who, as an evaluator, I enjoy watching the tape on because the prospect is a “football player” who goes all out and makes plays. Such was the case with Boston College defensive end Zach Allen, who isn’t flashy or explosive, but all he does is make plays.

In 2017, Allen’s first year as a full-time starter, he finished the season with 100 total tackles, 6 sacks and 15 ½ tackles for loss. He was one of only two defensive linemen to be credited with 100 or more tackles last year. He had seven games with at least 8 total tackles, an unheard of number for a lineman.

In high school, Allen mostly was a regional recruit and rated as a 3-star prospect. Some of the schools that offered him were Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Cornell and Harvard. Needless to say, he wasn’t a highly sought-after player.


As a freshman, Allen was mostly a special teams player but did play some as a backup. The following year he earned more playing time, including one start. He finished his sophomomre year with 36 total tackles (10 TFL) and 6 sacks.

Allen is listed as being 6050 - 285 — and he looks all of that. He has a thick frame and seems to have good arm length. Allen is a good athlete with good play speed. He is by no means a “burner” at the position, and I would estimate he will run in the 4.90 area. What he has is good quickness and change of direction to go along with very good balance.

Allen’s competitive nature is what jumps out on tape. He is all-out on every play, snap to whistle. In the run game, Allen shows very good instincts and reactions and is seldom out of position. He is well-coached and doesn’t overpursue plays. I never see him break contain, and Allen is always there protecting against cutbacks.

With his size, strength and length, Allen plays strong at the point and can use his hands. He can easily 2-gap an opponent, get off the block and get to the ball to make plays. You almost never see him glued to a block, and he moves through traffic smoothly.

As a pass rusher, Allen is consistent but not flashy. Again he uses his hands well and has initial and counter moves. He is not explosive coming off the edge but gets consistent pressure. He wins with technique and strength, not speed, and vs. the run, Allen keeps himself in good position to make a play. When in pursuit, he always takes good angles and shows consistent effort.

Most of the time Allen lines up as a defensive end, but Boston College will scheme him at times and have him inside or even on his feet, either inside or out. Once he gets to the NFL, I don’t see him as an outside player. In a four-man front he will most likely be a 3-technique. He has the size and quickness to be very effective at that position and has the frame to carry 290-plus pounds. If he gets drafted by a 3-4 team, he will be a 5-technique, and a darn good one.

Based on last year’s tape, I don’t currently see Allen as being a firs-round prospect, but he easily goes Day Two — and most likely high on Day Two. If he shows much improvement in 2018, all bets are off and he could become a Day One prospect. One thing is certain: Scouts, decision-makers and coaches will love his game day demeanor. I see him as a starter his rookie year for most clubs. He is the type of player who clubs love to have on their roster.

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