The injury to Marlin Jackson has left uncertainty at the free safety position for the Eagles. For rookie Nate Allen, it’s created a prime opportunity.
Allen, drafted 37th overall in April’s draft, looked strong during two weeks of organized team activities for the Eagles. So strong that coach Andy Reid has Allen penciled in as his starting free safety entering training camp.
“I’ve been studying pretty hard and trying to ask as many questions as I can out on the field and just trying to get a feel for everything, and learn as fast as I can,” Allen said. “I’m just coming out, working hard, and just letting everything fall into place.”
Despite Allen’s modesty, he’s impressed his teammates in the defensive backfield. If there’s a physical advantage, Allen has it with his height. At 6-foot-1, his long arms can be utilized in defensive coordinator Sean McDermott’s blitz packages. He batted down several passes at the line of scrimmage in practice from those looks.
“He’s already got a majority of the coverages and the blitzes down pat,” said cornerback Macho Harris, who started eight games at free safety last season. “I hadn’t gotten the coverages down pat like that until training camp, and that’s still a month and some change ahead. “He’s working for perfection. It’s pretty impressive to see a guy come in and step in ready to play like that.”