Zach Allen certainly is not a perfect prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he has tools that an NFL team could find a role for.
The first thing that pops off the tape when you start watching EDGE prospect Zach Allen out of Boston College is his relentless effort and motor. The kid just does not quit. This effort is something that helps mask some of his deficiencies as an athlete and pass rusher.
He plays to the whistle and will chase a play from sideline to sideline. He maintains his effort throughout long drives, though his limited athleticism does seem to wane as games go on. This consistently good motor is going to be one of his best attributes at the NFL level. Zach Allen’s dedication to his craft is never going to be in question.
As a pass rusher, Allen usually has a good plan of attack and is a smart player in planning out his pass rush. He has developed some nice pass rush moves, including a few decent inside counters. Allen has a decent inside spin move that helps him work against offensive tackles that may be more athletically gifted than him. He keeps his hands active and has a strong upper body giving his hand-fighting a little extra punch.
Zach Allen gets off the ball quickly but does not have a particularly explosive first step. His get-off is benefited greatly from a quick reaction to the snap rather than having a particularly twitchy jump off the ball. This reaction speed helps mask the fact that he is not a particularly explosive athlete in general.
Allen’s biggest struggle is in his arc. He does not have much speed to eat up ground and threaten the edge. He also does not show the ability to bend the corner against offensive tackles. Allen simply is not enough of an athlete to consistently win with speed at the next level.
What Allen lacks in speed, he makes up for in power. He is strong throughout both his upper and lower body. This should make him able to compete with bigger, stronger tackles that he will face in the NFL. This strength does not always seem to carry over when he moves inside and stunts. However, that seems to be more of an issue in leverage than it is pure strength.
Allen plays with ferocity against the run. He seems to have a good understanding of positioning and does a good job setting the edge. He is also decent at shedding blockers. At times, however, he has shown inconsistencies. While he is not always the guy to make the play at the point of attack, Allen does a good job of understanding his responsibilities. He forces the play in the desired direction and eats up blockers. He is always in pursuit and takes good angles to the runner.
Allen is one of the surest tacklers of the EDGE prospects in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. If he gets his hands on the runner, he is going to make the play. He finishes well in tight spaces and, unlike fellow EDGE prospect Josh Allen, drives through the ball carrier and finishes into the ground. Allen does not have the short area mobility to make plays in open space, however. He also can get beat to the corner if he gets out of position. However, Allen is definitely one of the most solid form tacklers in the class.
IDP Fantasy Implications
Allen’s fantasy value as an IDP player is going to be largely dependant upon the team that he lands on. Can that team find a role that will produce consistent snaps for him? He is not going to be a pass rush specialist in the NFL He may also have a hard time making a transition to defensive tackle. Ultimately, Allen could be a tweener.
If an NFL team can find a role for him, perhaps as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive end that plays primarily on early downs, Allen could find a way to produce tackle numbers.
Unlike Brian Burns or Jachai Polite, Allen is going to be more of a tackle dependent fantasy asset. He will probably be limited in terms of his sack production but, with a decent snap count, Allen could find is way into a role of a reliable tackle producer from a position that generally relies on splash plays.
He is not going to be a flashy player, and his draft stock will probably fall as the draft process continues. However, he could certainly be a niche player at the next level. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to players that play with his level of effort because they generally find their way into playing situations sooner rather than later.
Thanks for checking out the article everyone. I’ll have articles coming to all offseason to prepare you for the incoming crop of IDP players in the 2019 NFL Draft. Follow me on twitter @Lanny1925 and check out the podcast with Jon, Nate, and I.