MADISON––There was perhaps no bigger NFL Combine snub, at least from a size standpoint, than Wisconsin defensive lineman Beau Allen.
The 6' 2 1/2" 329 lb. nose tackle was out to prove the league wrong at Wisconsin's pro timing day on Wednesday for not inviting him to pro football's job audition.
"I think I was a little perturbed by the fact that I didn't go to the Combine," said Allen. "I wanted to go obviously. Everyone kind of dreams of being on that big stage, but I think I did what I wanted to do today, show teams that I'm athletic and I can move well and jump high for a big guy. And we had a great crowd here, so I think I showed what I wanted to show."
Consider it mission accomplished.
In front of scouts and coaches from 28 NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers, Allen put up 30 reps on the bench press, had a 31-inch vertical jump and an 8' 8" broad jump, all numbers that were very much on par with players of a similar size at the Combine.
At the point he gave an interview with the media, Allen still hadn't received his times in the three-cone drill and short shuttle as scouts hadn't yet compared times on their stopwatches and taken the time to inform players. But drills such as those are merely one piece of the puzzle and hardly the deciding factor whether Allen gets a shot in the NFL.
Because he had recently tweaked his hamstring in minor fashion, Allen also didn't run the 40, instead getting timed in a 10-yard burst.
"It was our first test of the day, so I didn't want it to tighten up for the rest of the day," said Allen. "But let's be honest, I'm 330 lbs. Coaches don't want to see me run 40 yards anyway."
Allen crossed the line in front of Packers personnel director Eliot Wolf, who was timing 10-yard splits.
After making 5.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks as a sophomore and 7.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks as a junior, Allen's statistics dipped to two TFLs and 1.5 sacks as a senior. But Allen's most recent season was also the year Wisconsin brought in a new coaching staff and had him playing a true zero-technique position in a 3-4 defense, lined up directly over center and boxed in by guards on either side.
"It's hard, some people, casual fans will look at stats like 1.5 sacks, a couple TFLs, 20 tackles or something like that," said Allen. "But I think more seasoned fans and obviously coaches that watch a lot of tape understand the value of a nose guard.
"People that play football, I think they get it. I don't think that's that big of a deal. For me, it's just about playing good football, putting good reps on film, giving great effort and things like that, and I think I did that last year."
Despite being snubbed by the Combine, Allen got the opportunity to show off his versatility and knowledge of multiple defensive systems in the East-West Shrine Game, playing in former NFL coach Romeo Crennel's 4-3 defense.
It was at January's all-star game where Allen met with the top decision maker in the Green Bay Packers organization.
"I talked to Ted Thompson over at the East-West Game," said Allen. "The way that works, you kind of do a lot of interviews with GMs and different scouts and you really sit down with a lot of different people, so I talked to him a bit."
Allen didn't know if he was more comfortable shooting gaps or eating blocks and defending two gaps at a time, but feels as if he can do both. He said he's played anywhere from 312 lbs. to 345 lbs. and can play just about anywhere his new pro football coaches ask him to do.
"I think Beau is a big-bodied individual that can make plays and fires guys up around him," said teammate and fellow defensive lineman Ethan Hemer. "I think he's a good player, and I think he's going to do well at the next level."
Allen may be considered a late-round draft choice at best but still figures to end up in an NFL training camp.
"I think I'm kind of flying under the radar a little bit, but I wouldn't have it any other way," said Allen. "I think nose guard isn't a very prestigious position, and people don't tend to get too hyped up about a 330 lb. long haired white nose guard from Wisconsin, so I'm trying to change that a little bit."
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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