With the fifth pick in the second round of this year's draft, the Eagles addressed a position that was in constant flux in 2009. South Florida safety Nate Allen joins an Eagles team that is looking for an answer at safety opposite Quintin Mikell, and he was acquired with the pick the Eagles acquired in the Donovan McNabb trade.
Watching the draft from his home in Fort Myers, Fl., with family and friends, Allen said that he was thankful for the opportunity and anxious to get to work.
"I'm just ready to get up and ready to start working hard and I'm so excited," Allen said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "I'm at a loss of words, I'm so excited.
"I had no idea. I was just waiting. I was just praying to the lord and whatever was going to happen was going to happen. I just put it in the lord's hands and I'm just excited. I'm glad the Eagles are giving me a chance and I'm so thankful for this opportunity."
Allen said that he spent time with the Eagles brass during the combine, where they went over some game tape, among other things. Allen said that he can't wait to get to Philadelphia and he'll do whatever it takes to help the team.
"I'm definitely willing to come in and play right away but, I mean, wherever they need me," he said. "Wherever I'm needed, special teams, nickel, wherever I'm needed to help them win, I'm there."
Allen was asked about his thoughts on being selected with the pick that was acquired in exchange for McNabb, the franchise stalwart. Coincidentally, Allen's number at South Florida was also five.
"I know it's just an honor to even be considered - even being in the NFL draft is an honor to me," he said. "Being considered with the whole Donovan McNabb (pick), I'm just excited to get up there and start working hard."
Allen also adressed concerns that he is an inconsistent tackler.
"That's their opinion," he said. "I'm just going to come in and show everybody that I can tackle and be a consistent tackler and just always improve. I can always improve in everything."
Allen now joins a crew at safety that includes three players who have all started at the position in the past. Marlin Jackson was acquired in free agency, but he is coming off consecutive seasons ended due to a torn ACL. Second-year man Macho Harris and third-year man Quintin Demps are also both players with significant upside. Harris and Jackson both have experience playing cornerback as well, and some draft analysts also said that Allen could project to cornerback. Allen also said that the two safeties at South Florida were interchangeable, as they are in Philadelphia.
But for now, it's a time of celebration for Allen. He said he "had to go in my room to close the door because it's so loud (at his draft party)," but if Allen thinks that's loud, just wait until his first time in front of a packed crowd of Eagles fans.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:06 p.m., April 23