Philadelphia Eagles’ Free Safety Nate Allen Must Step Up
Nate Allen will forever be linked to former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. When the Eagles shipped McNabb to the division rival Washington Redskins, they got their second round pick (37th overall). With their 2010 first round pick (13th), the Eagles passed on the obvious choice, Texas safety Earl Thomas, and went with a pass rushing defensive end, Michigan’s Brandon Graham. The move surprised many since the Eagles needed a safety after letting veteran Brian Dawkins get gobbled up in free agency.
The Eagles had a plan, however. The organization used their high second round pick to draft Nate Allen out of South Florida. Many scouts considered Allen to be a solid pro that would go in the second or third round. Allen possessed the size (6’1 210 lbs) and speed that many teams desire.
Nate Allen was thrust into being a starter from day one. He had big shoes to fill. Allen had some moments in his rookie campaign that showed his play making ability. Unfortunately, in week 13, the rookie safety ruptured the patellae tendon in his right knee. The injury ended his season and Allen had to have surgery.
In 2010, Nate Allen started thirteen games and ended his season with 48 tackles and three interceptions. That is less than four tackles a game, but not terrible for the position. The 2010 Eagle’s defense was a lot to learn, so his responsibilities were considerable.
Coming back from injury for the 2011 season, Allen lost his job to newly acquired veteran, Jarrad Page. Some insiders believed that Allen was not 100% healthy. That seemed curious to me. If he was not at full health, why did Allen occupy a roster spot?
Allen eventually won back his starting position finishing the 2011 campaign with 59 tackles and two interceptions. His play did not impress me. I have never been a Nate Allen fan, so I may be biased. I see him as a finesse player who plays a position that needs some physicality. Allen could evolve into a great safety, however, it is too early to really tell.
I wonder if Nate Allen is the player the Eagles thought he was. The Eagles did drafted another safety last year in the second round, Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett (54th overall). In addition, this off-season, the Eagles acquired safety Oshiomogho Atogwe from the Washington Redskins. Both Allen and Atogwe play free safety. Perhaps the Eagles have finally realized that Allen is at best a back-up.