3. DT Beau Allen
A hardworking but lesser-known contributor for the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles, Allen has come a long way since he was a seventh-round pick in 2014 — and incredibly, he was the last member of the team’s draft class that year still standing with the team.
It was fun sitting down with Allen during Super Bowl week, hearing him talk about his days growing up (nearby in Minnesota, no less) as an ice-rink custodian prior to his 54-game career as one of the more reliable interior defenders at Wisconsin. He was regarded coming out as strictly a 3-4 nose tackle and a run stopper, but Allen proved he had a more expansive worth last season.
This is not a player you’re going to want rushing the passer, mind you, with his two career sacks. But Allen logged a heavy workload and adjusted well from the scheme change after Chip Kelly and his staff were let go. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz found ways to get the 6-3, 329-pound Allen on the field, spelling Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan quite a bit, on what was an excellent run-stopping unit.
Allen logged 41 percent of the Eagles’ DT snaps last season, which is nothing to sneeze at, and he did so after suffering a pectoral injury while lifting weights just about a year ago. The Eagles had engaged him in contract talks prior to that, but the injury forced them to go get Jernigan in a trade from the Ravens.
The cap-tight Eagles now are likely forced to keep Jernigan and let Allen test the waters elsewhere. Allen hasn’t hid his interest in trying to prove his worth as a starter, so teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots or Washington could try to lure him away for a better opportunity or more money.