NAME: Zach Allen
POSITION: Defensive End
SCHOOL: Boston College
JERSEY: No. 2
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
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Zach Allen was a highly productive defensive lineman for the Boston College Eagles over the last three years. He played both defensive end and defensive tackle on the Eagles defensive line, and has the versatility to play in an odd or even defensive front in the NFL. He probably projects better as a DE or three-technique in a 4-3 defensive scheme, but can play the five-technique in a 3-4 defense.
Allen is one of the bigger and stronger 4-3 defensive ends in the entire 2019 draft class. Due to his size and strength he is able to easily shed blockers and set a strong edge, which makes him a really strong run defender. Shows really good read and react ability and quickly diagnosis plays. Has good gap integrity. Nonstop motor and doesn’t take any plays off.
Good first step quickness out of his stance as a pass rusher, showing good burst to get up the field in a hurry. Has good short area mobility and quickness. Shows good hand technique to go from one counter move to another when engaging and disengaging from blockers. Violent hands and power helps him put offensive lineman on their heels. Always has a plan with his pass rush, which suggests he has a strong football IQ.
The biggest negative about Zach Allen is where he fits best in the NFL. He’s a bit of a tweener. He doesn’t really have the speed or flexibility to win consistently against offensive tackles as a defensive end, and he doesn’t have the strength right now to hold up as an every down defensive tackle. Might be nothing more than a rotational defensive lineman.
Allen has prototypical size and strength to be a base DE or 3-tech in a 4-3 defensive scheme, but lack of length and athleticism could limit his effectiveness to play either position at the NFL level. His lack of length is particularly concerning. Quicker offensive lineman are able to get into his body and he has trouble disengaging at times because of his lack of length.
Needs to add more strength if he is asked to kick inside to play defensive tackle. Has a hard time anchoring down against the run and can be washed out of plays. Tight lower body with very little flexibility. Struggles to change directions, despite his short area quickness and mobility. Has gotten by mostly on effort instead of athleticism. Can be baited offsides by hard counts.
Zach Allen would immediately step in and contribute to the Dallas Cowboys defensive line rotation. In the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme I think he would play a similar role like Tyrone Crawford as a base defensive end on early downs and then kick inside to the three-technique in obvious passing situations. In fact, he could be Crawford’s replacement in 2020.
Allen is an intriguing player for the Cowboys, but he’s kind of a tweener DE/DT prospect. He doesn’t really have the speed or athleticism to win consistently against NFL offensive tackles as a DE, and he doesn’t really have the strength to consistently play at DT yet. But, he has the kind of versatility Dallas likes in their DL and is someone they will strongly consider drafting in the second-round with their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.