People seem to have a renewed interest in drafting a safety early, and while I'm not completely against the idea, I think it would be a mistake to use our first round selection on anything other than defensive line/outside linebacker. So it's time to start looking a little further down the draft, and one player that is very interesting to me is Nate Allen. People seem to be in two camps, either draft up and take Taylor Mays (people I refer to as the "CB"...crazy bunch) and people who want to wait until the 4th or 5th round and take another FS (people I refer to as the "LB"...logical bunch).
However Nate Allen is between the two, a 2nd round prospect out of South Florida, if we are going FS early (something I don't think we need to do), then Nate Allen is the guy that I want. He doesn't possess the physical attributes of Taylor Mays, but he is a better player in my opinion and could slot in straight away and not be over matched, and not be a liability in coverage. However I don't want this turning into 'another' Taylor Mays debate so that will be the last reference.
His background is clean as far as I can see, had a reputation as a leader on the defence, has a good work ethic, and team mates nicknamed him "The Golden Child".
2006- 9 games played, 2 tackles
2007- 13 games played, 86 tackles, 8 passes broken up, 4 interceptions
2008- 13 games played, 53 tackles, 1 interception
2009- 13 games played, 85 tackles, 4 passes broken up, 1 interception
What does Nate Allen do well:
His coverage is more than reliable on tight ends, he may struggle to stay with wide receivers from the slot, but he has good height and bulk to match up with tight ends, and make their day uncomfortable. A reliable tackler with good straight line speed. He has excellent instincts and good awareness, and he is explosive off the snap when being asked to blitz. A physical tackler who can lay the wood, but doesn't go for the big hit if there is a chance to make a play on the ball. Has good body control, and has a great motor. Lays it all on the line on every single play, is a reliable last line of defence. In my opinion, from what I have seen, he is very similar to Kerry Rhodes, he just tackles a lot better and is more aggressive, and works harder. Everyone has positive things to say about Allen, and it's not hard to see why.
What are the concerns with Nate Allen:
Although he has excellent range, he sometimes takes poor angles to the sideline routes, although he does have recovery speed. Some people don't like that he sometimes secures the tackle instead of laying the wood, but I love that about him, a self aware man. Like I said earlier doesn't have the speed to match up with the quicker sharper receivers in the league, but I don't expect us asking him to do that much.
I like Brodney Pool, but we have to be wary of the concussions, if he can stay injury free he is going to be a great addition to this team. Under no circumstances am I spending a first round pick on a safety. However if we do want to go early, Nate Allen is the only guy I want, he should be available in the late 2nd, and he potentially could fall to top of the 3rd, unfortunately right now we don't have one. If we can get a 2nd out of Leon, then Nate would be a great way to go. He has excellent athletic ability, with good college production, a fantastic work ethic, and the ability to be a leader, but more importantly a team player. Would welcome him.
Nate Allen 2007 USF Football Highlights (via BadAssBull)
Strange that he only has highlights of his 2007 season, he looks good there, but he is even better now, more polished.