There has been a lot of anticipation building about who the player taken with the pick the Eagles got in return for Donovan McNabb would be. Well, it's University of South Florida safety Nate Allen.
You wanted your safety, you got your safety. This seems like a no brainer pick to me. Free safety is an obvious need and the Eagles take arguably the top player left at the position right around where he was projected to go. Everyone that was a little freaked that the Eagles didn't go safety in the first can rest easy, Nate Allen is considered a safe pick and projects as a solid starter at the NFL level.
6'0, 207 pounds | Safety | South Florida
Agility: Only average agility, which is somewhat surprising. Doesn't change direction with ease. Allen's lateral agility is suspect and he's more of a downhill safety.
Ball Skills: Shows solid hands, totaling nine interceptions in his career. Really shows his hands on under-thrown passes. Likes to get after the pass to make a play on it.
Instincts: Very good recognition skills. A very intelligent player. Made the secondary calls for South Florida. Known as a player who does a lot of film study, which translates to his play on the field. Three-year starter.
Pass Coverage: Much better in zone coverage than man. In man coverage, Allen is unrefined in his technique and comes out too high in backpedal. Doesn't have the loosest hips to turn and run and loses a step. Can stick with tight ends and backs pretty well, but has some problems when he's on a wide receiver. Plays a solid center field in zone and breaks on the ball quickly. Gets a little inconsistent in his pursuit and will take poor angles on occasion.
Run Support: Allen wasn't used a lot near the line of scrimmage in South Florida's version of the cover-2 defense. Used more as the final line of defense. Has some trouble breaking down in the open field and tackling shifty running backs.
Size: Has a good frame and is tall. Built strongly. Probably won't ever get much bigger.
Speed: Doesn't have the best straight-line speed and can get beaten by fast wide receivers. Relies on his instincts to make up for a lack of speed.
Tackling: Allen is a good form tackler and he routinely wraps up the ball carrier. Was in on a lot of help tackles. Can lay out receivers when they come across the middle. Sometimes Allen falls in love with his hitting ability and misses an easy tackle.
Final word: Allen's career is marred by inconsistency. He had a very good sophomore year but struggled as a junior. He came on more during his senior year, though.
When he's on, Allen is a good all-around safety. A three-year starter, he's known most for his instincts and technical proficiency. His upside might not be the best, but he projects as a solid starter at the next level.