NFC South: Nate Allen

Looking at what's next in draft

April, 23, 2010
Round 1 is over, but all four NFC South teams still have needs in this draft. Here’s a look at what to expect the rest of the way.

Atlanta Falcons. They got linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and that filled one need. They’re without a second-round pick. They still could use a pass-rusher and someone like South Florida’s George Selvie could be available in the third or fourth round. Depth on the offensive line and at wide receiver also could be on the priority list.

Carolina Panthers. They didn’t have a first-round pick and they’ll make their draft debut with the No. 48 overall pick tonight. There are rumblings they could be interested in quarterback Colt McCoy and that may be true. But I think there are bigger needs at defensive tackle and wide receiver. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance McCoy will be gone before the Panthers draft. I’m keeping an eye on defensive tackle Terrence Cody and a whole bunch of wide receivers who are still on the board.

New Orleans Saints. They got cornerback Patrick Robinson in the first round and that solidifies a secondary that already was pretty good. There still are needs at outside linebacker and defensive tackle and that’s where the Saints will focus the next few rounds.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is in the house and that filled the team’s biggest need. But there are plenty of other major needs left and the Bucs are holding two second-round picks. Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate seems to be a fan favorite and that could happen, but I can’t help but wonder if the Bucs would prefer a bigger receiver. Cornerback also has to be addressed pretty quickly. Safety also is an issue and South Florida’s Nate Allen is sitting in Tampa Bay’s backyard.

Odds and ends from USF's pro day

March, 30, 2010
TAMPA, Fla. -- It’s obvious we can’t be at every pro day around the country. But there was one almost literally in the backyard of NFC South Blog headquarters on Tuesday, so I went and checked it out.

My main purpose was to work ahead on an upcoming column on University of South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul that will come out as we get closer to the draft. But I took down a bunch of observations that I’ll share with you now.

  • Read into this whatever you want, but the three head coaches I spotted out there were Tom Coughlin, Marvin Lewis and Lovie Smith. Head coaches generally don’t show up to watch potential late-round picks.
  • I didn’t see an NFC South head coaches or general managers out there. But I did see New Orleans defensive line coach Bill Johnson. He helped lead some of the drills. Not sure Pierre-Paul’s going to last anywhere near where New Orleans is scheduled to pick at No. 32. But South Florida had another defensive end, George Selvie, working out and he could be around in the third or fourth round.
  • Speaking of NFC South defensive line coaches in attendance, I also spotted Carolina’s Brian Baker. Carolina doesn’t even have a first-round pick at the moment, so I don’t think Pierre-Paul was the main reason Baker was there. He might have been checking out Selvie.
  • Safety Nate Allen didn’t run the 40-yard dash. He said he passed because he’s not completely healthy. But he did the other drills and said he believes he fared well.
  • Besides the head coaches mentioned above, I saw a few other dignitaries out there – Tampa Bay personnel executive Doug Williams, mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus (he represents Pierre-Paul), new South Florida coach Skip Holtz, Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
  • Nice move by South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe to full take part in the workout. Grothe suffered a major knee injury last season. He worked out with a bulky brace on his left knee and his throws didn’t appear all that spectacular. But this was a kid who came in with doubts about his height and arm strength even before the injury. He had nothing to lose by working out. In fact, he probably scored some attitude points just by showing up. Grothe is a long shot to even get to camp with an NFL team and admitted he may have to head to the Canadian Football League. But he’s got a private visit with the Bucs coming up in less than two weeks and the workout might have reminded some teams Grothe is out there.

Off to watch the Bulls run

March, 30, 2010
I’m about to head over to the University of South Florida campus, which literally is about three turns from my home, to watch pro day.

Obviously, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is the main attraction. But I’ll keep an eye on the other Bulls, including safety Nate Allen. I’ll check back in with you after the workout to let you know how the Bulls did. I’ll also let you know what NFC South dignitaries show up out there.

I also will be working on a lengthy profile of Pierre-Paul that is scheduled to run as we get a bit closer to the draft.

Programming notes

March, 29, 2010
I’m going to be heading out to the University of South Florida’s pro day workouts in Tampa on Tuesday.

Obviously, the big name there will be defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. He’s projected as a first-round pick and some say he could go in the top 10. I’ll be doing an extensive column on Pierre-Paul as we get closer to the draft.

But I’m also going to be keeping a close eye on Nate Allen, because one NFC South personnel executive told me to keep an eye on Allen. The executive, who didn’t want to be named, said his team really likes Allen. Most projections out there have Allen as a second-round pick, but a strong workout could put him even closer to the first round.

Also this week, we’ll have our regularly scheduled programming with The Big Question on Tuesday, Draft Watch on Wednesday and Stock Watch on Thursday. The NFC South chat also is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. ET.