Round 2 (From Jax): Boston College DE Zach Allen
6-4, 280 – Senior
There is a very good chance that the salary cap-strapped Buccaneers move on from veteran defensive end Vinny Curry, who is slated to make $8 million in 2019 at age 31. An early season high ankle sprain limited Curry to 15 tackles and just 2.5 sacks, and then Carl Nassib took over at left defensive end down the stretch, playing well with 22 tackles, a career-high 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Reserve defensive end Will Gholston notched just seven tackles and one sack last year after making $6.5 million, but what helps Gholston is the fact that he’s making just $3.75 million in 2019 and is a better fit in Bowles’ 3-4 defense than Curry is. Still, the Bucs will need another stout defensive end to replace Curry if he becomes a salary cap casualty, as expected. That’s where Boston College defensive end Zach Allen comes in.
At 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Allen is a big, powerful left defensive end with strong hands and good movement skills. He’s athletic enough to turn the corner and flatten out as a pass rusher, but he likely won’t be a double-digit sacker at the next level. Allen had six sacks as a sophomore and 6.5 last year as a senior.
It’s not just about sacks in Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3-4 Under defense. It’s about penetration and attacking the line of scrimmage, and Allen penetrate and make plenty of plays in the backfield. Allen had 40.5 tackles for loss and 199 tackles as a three-year starter for the Eagles, including 100 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss as a junior.
Allen’s Boston College Career Defensive Stats
2015: 2 tackles
2016: 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 4 PBUs, 2 FRs
2017: 100 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 INT
2018: 61 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 7 PBUs, 2 FRs, 1 INT, 1 FF
Allen had a fine showing in Mobile, Ala. during the week of practice at the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl, winning several match-ups against Kansas State right tackle Dalton Risner, who could be a first-round pick in April. Allen is regarded by some as a potential late first-round pick or early second-rounder. If he falls to Tampa Bay at No. 38 the Bucs should pounce on him.
Allen received great coaching from Paul Pasqualoni, who coached Boston College’s defensive line from 2016-17 before taking over as the Detroit Lions defensive coordinator in 2018. Pasqualoni was Syracuse’s head coach from 1991-2004, in addition to coaching defensive line with the Chicago Bears (2014) and Houston Texans (2015) before coming to Boston College.
“He was instrumental in that and I think that’s really why you saw my game skyrocket every year from him,” Allen said.
Allen was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2018 and an All-ACC honorable mention recipient in 2017 after his junior season when he played opposite defensive end Harold Landry, who was a first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Allen is a no-nonsense defender who loves the game of football and approaches the game with a blue-collar work ethic.
“He carries himself not in a rude way or a rude manner, but you can tell attention is like demanded,” A.J. Dillon, Boston College’s star sophomore running back, said about Allen. “Zach’s probably one of the most accountable people I’ve been around.”
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin was impressed by what he saw on film about Allen prior to the Broncos’ match-up against the Eagles in the First Responder Bowl.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht loves defensive linemen that have a lot of pass breakups because it shows their awareness at the line of scrimmage. Allen has 14 career pass breakups, which is a lot, in addition to two interceptions.
Allen isn’t expected to star at the NFL Scouting Combine, and that along with his limited production as a pass rusher could cause his draft stock to slip into the second round where the Bucs would be eagerly waiting to add young, strength and athleticism to their defensive line.