Allen hopes to hear his name called
Special to the Gazette
In his only collegiate season playing nose tackle, Beau Allen says he developed a nasty streak.
It was something he felt was necessary in order to take on multiple burly blockers in the trenches for the Wisconsin defense. It was the right kind of attitude he needed to deal with the frustrations that inevitably come up in the weeks preparing for the NFL draft.
Allen took it personally that he wasn't invited to the NFL's scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. He said it was probably because scouts wanted to see more from a record 103 early entrants who declared for this year's draft compared to a four-year contributor who has a lot of film.
That didn't stop Allen from carrying a big chip on his shoulder into UW's annual pro timing day March 5.
“For me to see defensive linemen I know that I am better than at the combine was really insulting,” said Allen. “Pro day was my shot, and I came out there and did everything I wanted to do. Not getting invited to the combine definitely gave me something to be angry about.”
Wanting to show teams that he's an athletic big man, Allen weighed in at 329 pounds, registered a 31-inch vertical jump, did 30 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and did agility drills in the L-cone, pro agility and 10-yard sprints.
“I'm not really sure why, but I think there's a general idea out there that I am not a very good athlete and I wasn't going to put up good numbers,” said Allen. “I am not sure where that started, but I think I had a great workout, and I surprised some scouts, general managers, front-office staff and maybe some of my own teammates.”
He hopes that's enough to put him position to get his name called at some point during the three days of the NFL Draft, which begin tonight in New York City.
Allen plans to watch the draft from his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota, but knows he'll have a large cheering section for him congregated in Janesville.
His mother's (Susie) family is from Janesville, which includes his late-grandfather, Fred T. Westphal, who was a six-time All-American as a member of the UW swim team from 1956-59, charter inductee into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame and member of the Wisconsin Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.
Allen's uncle, John Westphal, still lives here and was two-year letter winner in football at UW from 1980-81.
“I think they'll be in Janesville waiting for my name to get called as well,” said Allen.
Allen is one of a large senior class who led Wisconsin to three Big Ten championships, three Rose Bowl appearances, won 39 games over the past four seasons and could have at least six players drafted during the three-day event.
Allen hopes he's one of them because of the versatility he possesses. He sees himself playing nose tackle, or a zero-technique. That is what he did in Wisconsin's 3-4 defense last season, but feels he can excel as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme.
Allen's best season came in UW's 4-3 defense, registering 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to help the Badgers win a third straight Big Ten championship in 2012.
Moving to nose guard resulted in a drop in stats for Allen, who registered only two TFLs and 1.5 sacks last season. He believes his entire body of work speaks for itself.
“Casual fans will look at 1.5 sacks and a couple TFLs, but more seasoned fans and coaches who watch a lot of tape see the value of a nose guard,” said Allen. “People that play football, I think they get it. I don't think it's that big of a deal. For me it's about playing good football, putting good reps on field and giving great effort. I think I did that last year.”
After spending the two months following his final college game working on running, jumping and benching technique, Allen has spent the past two months selling his brand. He says he did three private workouts and visited eight teams, traveling at one point for two weeks straight.
“It definitely was a good process for me,” said Allen, who spent his free time working out with Badgers strength coach Evan Simon on campus. “Not only learning the game of football, but meeting people, meeting decision makers in the NFL and other players that are going to get drafted. It was good.”
Whether he gets to celebrate his name being announced this week or will sign a free agent contract, Allen feels excited for his prospects heading into the next phase of his football career.
“I feel so much more comfortable (about) playing in the NFL than I did (four months ago),” said Allen. “I've learned so much more about how it all works. The great thing about the NFL is no matter where you go, you're going to have great coaching and great players around you.
“I feel so much better about the whole process. I feel like I am in a really good spot. I'm excited for the draft.”
UPDATE: Allen was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him with the 224th overall pick.