Never mind Bennie Logan performed quite capably in the role last season. Or that general manager Howie Roseman told Reuben Frank for CSNPhilly.com that the team expects Logan to get as large as 325 pounds. Or that the Eagles nose tackle was only on the field for roughly 50 percent of the defensive snaps in ’13.
No, nose tackle was a major need in many eyes, and now they’ve got another one. Allen doesn’t have to get up to 325—he’s already there, at 331 pounds to be exact.
As much as Allen’s weight will work to his advantage in the NFL, it will be truly meddlesome in conjunction with his height. At 6’2”, it’s going to be difficult for most offensive linemen to get underneath his pad level, where the leverage point is. In other words, Allen will occupy blockers if for no other reason than he’ll be impossible to move out of the way.
This isn’t a numbers guy who’s going to dominate at the point of attack or get loads of penetration. In four years and 54 games at Wisconsin—two years as starter—Allen posted just 94 tackles, 15.0 tackles for a loss and eight sacks.
He’ll take up space, though. When it’s fourth down and the offense has one yard to go, good luck pushing this kid out of the way. And it better not take two interior linemen to contain him on the pass rush, or somebody in that linebacking corps has a favorable matchup.
By no means is Allen a starter, though, at the very least, not right away. Whether people recognize it or not, Logan appears to have a bright future, and the bulk of the playing time is his.
There's no denying the Eagles needed depth at the position, though. Last year, Damion Square filled that role as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama. In the rare instances he got into games, Square didn’t make a dent. I shudder to think what would’ve happened if they needed him to start a few games.
Allen projects as a capable long-term fill-in if need arises, again, based on size alone. Perhaps, in time, he’ll prove worthy of a bigger role. Should that happen, Logan is versatile enough to slide outside to end.
In fact, with Allen in the fold, the Eagles can finally field a true “heavy” or goal-line package, with Logan kicked to the outside and Allen at nose.
Of course, this is all contingent upon Allen earning a roster spot—not always a given for a seventh-round pick. Then again, he should be able to beat out Square. Plus, the fact that the Eagles requested to move up in the round as part of the Bryce Brown trade with the Buffalo Bills suggests they really coveted Allen in that spot.
Allen probably isn’t the player folks had in mind when they were talking about the need at nose tackle, but he shouldn’t come as a disappointment at all. He’s instant depth at an area that sorely needed it, and who knows, maybe he transforms into the huge table-setter people tend to associate with nose tackles in traditional 3-4 defenses.