The Patriots have an interesting group of guys on the defensive line. That seems to be the best way to describe it. Trey Flowers is an excellent edge player and Deatrich Wise also has been good this season. That said, the talent they have around those two is a mash-up of veterans role players, and the team could stand to add some talent to that group, especially since Flowers is set to be a free agent this offseason.
Zach Allen is being underrated in this draft, in this analyst’s opinion. Allen has had a very good career at Boston College, and he has been a tackling machine despite playing on the defensive line. He is a unique player and while he may not have a lot of pass rushing moves yet, he is going to carve out a good career in the NFL.
Allen has a relentless motor and very good instincts. That’s part of the reason he was able to notch a ridiculous 100 tackles as a junior with BC in 2017. He didn’t get as close to that lofty number as a senior, but he still lived in opposing backfield, racking up 15 tackles for loss to give him 40.5 during his three years as a part of the Boston College rotation.
Allen may look like a positional tweener to some, but in reality, he is scheme versatile. He can play the five-technique in a 3-4 defense while he would likely move around a defensive line in a 4-3 scheme. On early downs, he would serve as an edge-setting run defender while kicking inside as an interior rusher on passing downs. Early in his career, Allen may see more action on running downs, but he could develop into a superb all-around player if he continues to grow as a pass rusher.
Allen reminds me a bit of a poor man’s J.J. Watt. He doesn’t have the same athletic ability as Watt, but he has that same motor and really good strength that should make him a solid starter at the NFL level. And if Allen continues to grow and develop as a player, he could end up being a steal.
The Patriots will be happy with the value they get on Allen at this point. Don’t be surprised to see him rise during the draft process if he continues to impress.