Player to Watch: Will Allen

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
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(Continuing a series from last week, Field Yates offers another player to look out for at Patriots organized team activities. Mike Rodak's selection will be posted later today.)

At 33, Father Time may not be on the side of Patriots defensive back Will Allen, but that doesn’t mean the veteran can’t learn a new trick or two, as we saw may be the case during Thursday’s organized team activity.

Allen, who at one point was regarded as a quality cover corner in the NFL, aligned at safety during portions of the on-field session, and spent much of the practice near the ear of safeties coach Brian Flores.

What does it mean? Truthfully, it’s too soon to tell, but it’s a sign that Allen is a player I want to see more of in the coming months.

From a size standpoint (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), Allen may not fit the conventional mold of a safety, but the switch to the defensive back-end is a transition many veteran corners have made towards the latter part of their career. It’s a move often discussed in regards to Packers standout Charles Woodson, and Allen too may be ready to switch gears in his 12th pro season.

The secondary is an area where the Patriots struggled a season ago, and players such as Allen, Steve Gregory and second round draft choice Tavon Wilson were added to help patch together the unit. Allen was believed to be a candidate to play in the slot as a cornerback, and that still may be the case, as Thursday could have been nothing more than experimental maneuvering by the Patriots.

From 2004-2005, Allen recorded 152 tackles, suggesting that he’s capable enough to help produce against the run. When the pads come on in July, we’ll have a much better idea what he offers as a tackler.

And while the Patriots secondary turnaround is dependent upon the efforts of many, Allen has already established himself as a player to keep an eye on as the offseason continues to unfold.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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