Round 3: Boston College DE Zach Allen
6-4, 281 – Senior
Previous Pick: Alabama State OT Tytus Howard
After getting an inside linebacker in LSU’s Devin White and an outside linebacker that can rush off the edge in Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson, the Bucs continue to address their front seven with the selection of Allen, who has the versatility to play the five-technique defensive end spot in Tampa Bay’s 3-4 base defense, as well as the ability to rush inside as a three-technique defensive tackle in nickel defense.
Reserve defensive end Will Gholston notched just seven tackles and one sack last year and is limited as a pass rusher. The Bucs would like to upgrade this position and have a need here as the team released aging veteran Vinny Curry after a disappointing lone season in Tampa Bay. Allen is projected as a mid- to late second-round pick, so Bucs general manager Jason Licht may have to trade up in the second round to get him. In this mock draft, the Bucs are fortunate that Allen’s 5.0 time in the 40-yard dash causes his stock to slip to the top of the third round.
At 6-foot-4, 281 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 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.
Licht loves defensive linemen that have a lot 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. The Bucs had a formal interview with Allen at the NFL Scouting Combine and would love to add this young, strong, athletic talent to their defensive line.