Finding 58: Where Would Zach Allen Line Up?

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FRISCO, Texas – Somehow, it’s draft season once again.

The offseason is flying by, and the 2019 NFL Draft is set to start in just a few short weeks.

This year is different from other ones, as the Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper leaves them without a first-round pick this month. With their first selection coming at pick No. 58, it’s a bit more challenging to identify their targets.

Still, by paying attention to their pre-draft movements, it’s possible to get an idea for what the Cowboys are thinking this year. The goal of this series is to identify their targets at the back end of the second round.

The series starts with Boston College defensive end Zach Allen.

  • Name: Zach Allen
  • Position: DE
  • College: Boston College
  • Height/Weight: 6-4/281
  • Honors: Allen was named Connecticut’s Gatorade High School Player of the Year coming out of high school, and he earned second-team All-ACC with 6.5 sacks as a college senior.
  • Key Stat: He appears to have mastered the art of blocking throwing lanes, as he batted down 10 passes during his final two college seasons.

How’s His Stock:

Allen creates the classic NFL draft conundrum – talent or tape? Turn on the tape of Allen at B.C., and you’ll see snap after snap of relentless effort. The guy had 40.5 tackles for loss in just three seasons as a full-time contributor.

At the same time, his athletic testing won’t knock anyone’s socks off. Allen was a middle of the pack performer at the NFL Combine, as he was good but not great in all of the major drills.

That likely means beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. Allen certainly has the size and the motor to contribute in the NFL, but his lack of elite athleticism will likely push him down the draft board. It might be a bit of an agonizing wait, but there’s a good chance the Cowboys will see Allen fall within their range.

How He Could Help:

The popular comparison for Allen these days is current Tyrone Crawford, who the Cowboys drafted 81st overall to play 3-4 defensive end back in 2012.

Allen played mainly on the edge in college, but his lack of flexibility might make that a challenge in the NFL. At 6-4, 281 pounds, he’s got the size to project inside, and it’d be interesting to see if defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would try him there.

Regardless of where he winds up, he’d definitely bolster the Dallas depth chart. The Cowboys have question marks at defensive tackle, but you can always use help on the edge in the NFL. Allen looks like a guy who could step in and contribute to the rotation from Day 1, regardless of which spot he’s in.

Scouting Report:

Allen does a really nice job of working up the field, then coming back to retrace his steps. He’s quick to read the block and work to defeat it. He has some power in his hands, and his punch can move blockers. One thing I really like about him is that he’s aggressive when it comes to going after the ball. One negative I’ve noticed is that, when he plays high, he tends to get in trouble. You will see him let defenders into his pads.

Bryan Broaddus

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