DE Zach Allen could be Carolina Panthers pass-rushing threat
Allen could be an option for an aging Carolina Panthers defensive line.
Mock draft season is in full swing and with the No. 16 pick in the draft, the Carolina Panthers are right in the thick of things. They have many positions that need to be upgraded and it will be important for them to use that pick wisely. The Charlotte Observer released a list of Panthers draft prospects to watch at the Senior Bowl, which will take place on Saturday.
We saw how effective the team’s first-round pick was in the 2018 campaign as wide receiver D.J. Moore paid tremendous dividends to the team. The Panthers could only be so lucky and strike gold twice with their first-round picks. One position of need for Carolina is defensive end. One of the team’s top weapons at the position in Julius Peppers is not getting any younger. On a defensive unit that needs an injection of youth, Zach Allen of Boston College may be the right fit for the team.
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Allen has had a tremendous last two years for the Eagles. His best season by far came in the 2017 campaign. That year, he recorded 100 tackles, four sacks and a pass deflection as he became the breakout star of the Boston College defense. The 100 tackles ranked him eighth in the ACC.
He would follow up that performance with an equally stellar 2018 campaign. Although he did not record as many tackles (and it would be unfair to ask that of him again), Allen proved to be a tremendous force as a pass-rusher. He would record six sacks, seven pass deflections and a fumble recovery. His sack numbers ranked him eighth in the ACC. Allen gets into the backfield in a hurry, almost as if he was shot out of a cannon. He brings great pressure off the edge and collapses the quarterback’s pocket very quickly. Here’s what Marcel Louis-Jacques had to say.
"Allen was one of the best defensive ends in a conference sending several of them to the NFL. But unlike ACC counterparts Clelin Ferrell, Brian Burns and Austin Bryant, Allen did not play for an attention-grabbing program. Still, he’s a physical specimen at 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds who shouldn’t be on the board after the first round. He’ll need to showcase an ability to win around the corners rather than with power but Allen is a realistic option for Carolina at No. 16 overall."
Allen would be a pick that could make an impact for the Panthers right away. As noted throughout the course of the season, the Carolina pass rush was non-existent at times. They need someone who can get into the backfield fast and make plays. Allen certainly can do that. Having a player with that type of skillset makes life easier on the cornerbacks as well. Let’s break it down like a math equation. Defensive end who can get into the backfield quickly+ hurried throws by the quarterback= more chances to create turnovers on the part of the secondary. It’s a formula that works almost every time. Pep did it for years, and now Allen has the chance to do it himself for whatever team he plays on.
For the Panthers, the only downside to putting Allen on their radar is that they will not be the only team to do so. The good news is that he is not projected to be a first-round pick. In the latest mock draft from CBSSports.com, Allen does not make the first round cut. There is a realistic chance the Panthers could land him. That would be a very good thing. He would greatly strengthen the defensive line and is the type of player that could anchor said line in the near future.