Arizona Cardinals draft New Canaan’s Zach Allen with first pick of 3rd round

Zach Allen (44) of New Canaan sacks St. Joseph quarterback Lars Pederson during the Rams’ football victory over the Cadets on Nov. 1, 2014. — Dave Stewart photo
The next step in Zach Allen’s football odyssey took place on Friday night when the former New Canaan star and 2014 New Haven Register All-State Player of the Year was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the top pick in the third round.
Allen is the first former FCIAC product to go in the top 100 picks since Stamford’s Vlad Ducasse was the No. 61 selection in 2010.
Boston College defensive end Zach Allen (2) moves during an NCAA college football game against Clemson, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Boston. — AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Allen is intriguing because his 6-foot-4, 281-pound frame would allow him to play multiple positions at the next level. He has also been a very productive player at Boston College. He had 100 tackles as a junior and the only FBS defensive lineman with more during the 2017 season was Stanford’s Harrison Phillips, who was a third-round pick by Buffalo in the 2018 NFL draft.
Allen finished with 199 tackles, 40 1/2 tackles for loss and 18 1/2 sacks. He had eight tackles for loss and three sacks in eight games against ranked teams in his final three seasons. Allen had a solid showing at the NFL scouting combine. He finished sixth among defensive ends with a 32-inch vertical leap and time of 7.34 in the 3-cone drill, seventh with a 9-foot-4 broad jump, eighth with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0.
“He does have versatility,” former NFL linebacker David Pollack said on ESPN’s broadcast. “He is strong, he plays relentless which is fun to watch, he never gets moved He will be a fun guy. Arizona is getting football players, they are getting guys who know how to play.”
Allen will head to an Arizona team that did record 49 sacks during the 2018 season but 13 of them were by Chandler Jones. No other player on the team had more than 4 1/2 sacks.
Allen is part of one deepest group of defensive line prospect in recent memory. Ten of the top 19 picks in Thursday’s first round were defensive linemen including former Suffield Academy star Christian Wilkins going to the Dolphins with the 13th overall pick.
The draft wraps up on Saturday with rounds 4-7. There are plenty of prospects with Connecticut ties who will either get selected on Saturday or be signed an undrafted rookie free agents.
The NFL Draft Scout site, which has a solid track record when it comes to ranking late round picks, has 20 other players who are either Connecticut natives or attended college in Connecticut. Former Central Connecticut State quarterback Jake Dolegala is rated 13th at his position.
Branford’s T.J. Linta is another quarterback who has a chance to either be taken late in the draft or more likely get signed after the draft is over.
Defensive end Tuzar Skipper of Norwich, safety Kyran McKinney-Crudden of Glastonbury, offensive lineman Jaelin Robinson of New Haven, linebacker Thomas Costigan of Stamford are the other top candidates from Connecticut while the UConn trio of offensive lineman Ryan Crozier, quarterback David Pindell and receiver Kyle Buss could also land in NFL training camps.
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New Canaan senior co-captain Quintin O’Connell in action during the Class LL semifinals on Sunday. O’Connell has 25 receptions for 248 yards in two playoff games so far. — Dave Stewart photo The New Canaan Rams and Greenwich Cardinals will clash for a state football championship on Saturday and this edition of Rams by the […]

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