Boston College defensive end Zach Allen (2) in action during a game against Clemson in November. — AP Photo/Elise Amendola
It was a little more than a month ago when New Canaan’s Zach Allen, during the Boston College pro day in Chestnut Hill, Mass., had a chance to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
“I am just trying to get through day by day,” Allen told Hearst’s Jim Fuller. “But I am sure it will be a lot of fun to celebrate with my family because I wouldn’t be here without them, Coach (Lou) Marinelli and all of them who helped me get here.
“I am very fortunate for everybody who has been in my life and can’t wait to hear my name get called.”
That day could be fast approaching as Allen and the rest of his football family in New Canaan await the NFL draft, which gets underway with the first round at 8 p.m., today, Thursday, in Nashville, Tenn. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday starting at 7 p.m., with the rest of the draft beginning at noon, Saturday.
Allen, a 6-foot-4, 281-pound defensive end from Boston College, is projected to be picked by the end of the second day.
A 2014 graduate of New Canaan High School, Allen has established himself as one of the top DEs while playing for the Boston College Eagles the past four years.
He collected 199 career tackles for the Eagles, which included 100 during his junior season. In 50 games, he had 40.5 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks, and batted down 14 passes, including seven as a senior, all impressive numbers for a defensive end.
Above all, Allen is a student of the game, boasting a high football IQ and an ability to thrive in several different schemes.
“I had a lot of different roles during my time at Boston College,” Allen told Patriots.com. “I played in a lot of fronts — 4-3, 3-4, overs, 5-technique — pretty much everything. At BC, we did it all. I’m fine with whatever helps the team. I’m open and willing and don’t really have a preference.”
Experts had projected Allen as a possible second-round pick following his junior year, but the New Canaan native chose to remain in school and get his degree.
“I love BC, I love my friends and wanted to spend another year with them and get my degree,” Allen said at the time. “It was a tough decision but I have good people around me — my coaches, my family. We all sat down and came up with the decision.”
At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month, Allen performed well and finished in the top 10 among interior defensive linemen in several categories, including fifth in the the 20-yard shuttle, sixth in the three-cone drill, and eighth in the vertical jump.
Allen is willing to do whatever it takes.
“Whether a team needs me to be ab edge guy, inside guy, bend, be explosive, my big thing is I am a pretty versatile guy and I just want to prove I can keep doing it,” he said. “I want them to know they are going to get the hardest working guy in the building and that is not just a cliche, I will see to that. They will also see a really smart football player. I have a good football IQ.”
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