On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles finalized their 2014 NFL Draft class by bolstering the middle of their defensive line, selecting nose tackle
Allen was surrounded by his family when he received word about the Eagles’ choice, and afterwards he explained that he’s more than ready to get his NFL career started.
“It’s exciting and it’s overwhelming really, just all the love and support that’s coming in to me and my family from everywhere,” Allen said. “It’s a great feeling really, and I’m just so excited about my future.
“It’s funny because you get that phone call and it’s a little delayed on TV. It comes afterwards and it’s a little behind, so I was talking to the coaching staff on the phone and I went outside to get to a quiet area and the next thing I hear is a big roar from my family in the house after they heard the pick on TV, so it was just really exciting.”
As the draft moved into its seventh and final round, Allen watch closely on television, keeping his phone nearby for whenever an NFL team came calling. As Allen’s agent starting fielding calls about possible matches in free agency, Allen held out faith, noticing that a certain team still had a pick left on the board.
“I was starting to really cover all of my bases, so to say,” Allen explained. “I was fielding calls from different teams about free agency and whatnot, and the funny thing is that I was talking to my agent and he said, ‘I just talked to the Eagles about free agency and they seem really interested,’ and I said ‘Okay, well they have a pick coming up, so we might as well just wait until after that pick until we talk about it again.’
“I went on a visit with them and it went really well, and that was basically the team that I was the most interested in, and they picked me and I was stunned and it just felt great to get to that phone call.”
Allen, a 6-foot-2, 333-pound lineman, met with the Eagles earlier this spring, and very soon into the meeting, he felt like Philadelphia was the perfect place for him to land.
“I did my homework on them and I came out for a visit earlier this spring and it went really well,” said the Eagles' seventh-round pick. “I thought that I meshed really well with the coaching staff and I really like (defensive line) coach (Jerry) Azzinaro. I had dinner with him and then I had a meeting with him the next day, and I just think he’s a great guy and someone I really got along with.
“All the way up the coaching tree and even up to the front office, I just felt like I had a great visit. I had eight visits this spring, so it was kind of a grind, but coming away from the visit with the Eagles, I really felt the best. I felt the most comfortable there and I felt like I could see myself in that organization. It just worked out really well for me.”
Allen never missed a game with the Badgers, playing in 54 consecutive games over four seasons, a fact that he often brags about. He finished his collegiate career with 94 tackles and 15.0 tackles for loss, but he wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Allen also tallied eight sacks, which he believes proves that he can be more than just a run-stopping presence.
“Coach Azzinaro mentioned to me on that visit that they didn’t want a 350-pound nose guard that is only good for a few downs and doesn’t provide much of a pass rush,” said Allen. “They want a guy that can be active as a pass rusher and can run sideline to sideline and give great effort, and those are the things that I bring to the table. Sometimes I get the unfortunate knock of just being a run stuffer, but I don’t see myself like that at all. I see myself as an athletic guy that can move and rush the passer well. I think I bring a lot to the table and obviously so do the Eagles coaching staff or else they wouldn’t have drafted me.”
Allen, who attended high school in Minnetonka, Minn., isn’t overly familiar with the city of Philadelphia. He is, however, ready to learn all that he can about his new home, and he’s looking forward to making a name for himself in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I actually don’t know too much about the city of Philadelphia, besides when I was there for my visit, which was the first time I’d ever been there, but I loved it,” Allen said. “I thought that downtown was a really cool mix of the old buildings that have been there forever. I drove by the Liberty Bell too, which is great because it’s such a piece of history.
“I’m looking forward to learning about the city and getting more acquainted with it, but obviously I’m excited. I’m fired up.”