One of the biggest disappointments of the 2013 season was the Pittsburgh Steelers run defense. Once a dominant force in the NFL, this unit sunk ranking near the bottom of the league. Some of that could be the departure of nose tackle Casey Hampton, who anchored that unit for over a decade. While Steve McLendon stepped in as the starter, he was nowhere near the run stuffer Hampton was.nose tackle at some point in the draft, although when is a great question. As of now, Steelers 101 has the team addressing the nose tackle position somewhere around the sixth round. Ironically, the same are where recent pre-draft visitor, Wisconsin nose tackle Beau Allen may be slated to come off the board.
At 6-3, 330-pounds Allen has the prototypical size for the position. Yet, this four-year starter was a non-combine invite and is relatively unknown outside scouting services. In all, he played in a school-record 54 games as a nose tackle for Wisconsin and appears to have the strength to anchor against the run in a 3-4 scheme.
A space-eater, Allen may lack the overall athleticism of many other nose tackle prospects, but he does boast elite strength for the position. While his numbers were not eye popping in 2013 (10 tackles, 1.5 sacks), he did a great job at keeping linebacker Chris Borland clean allowing the defender to accumulate 112 tackles with 8.5 for loss. Basically, he did what any nose tackle is to do, take up blockers.
To this point, the non-combine invite has looked solid in workouts. At the Wisconsin pro day, he recorded 30-reps at 225, a 33-inch vertical, and a 1.65 10-yard dash at 330-pounds (numbers that would have placed him near the top at the NFL Combine). With limited experience in a 3-4, Allen will also have to receive a clean bill of health during workouts. While he never missed a game, offseason microfracture surgery in 2012 to remove bone spurs will have to be checked out.
With needs at multiple positions, the Steelers will likely wait to address the nose tackle position, especially with McLendon and Hebron Fangupo already on the roster. If the Steelers are looking for a late round sleeper that could make an impact along the defensive line, Allen is a distinct possibility to be that player.
Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson (Profile 3/28)
Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard (Profile 3/29)
TCU cornerback Jason Verrett (Profile 4/6)
Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby (Profile 4/10)
Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines (Profile 4/17)
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert (Profile 2/15)
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Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown (Profile 3/31)
Mississippi wide receiver Dante Moncrief (Profile 4/3)
South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington (Profile 4/5)
Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant (Profile 4/7)
Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Profile 2/5)
Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans (Profile 2/6)
Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (Profile 2/16)
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Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk (Profile 4/1)
Louisville safety Calvin Pryor (Profile 4/8)
Minnesota safety Brock Vereen (Profile 4/8)
Washington State safety Deone Bucannon (Profile 4/13)
Arizona State outside linebacker/defensive end Carl Bradford (Profile 4/12)
Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (Profile 4/14)
UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (Profile 4/15)
Auburn outside linebacker/defensive end Dee Ford (Profile 2/16)
Texas outside linebacker/defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (Profile 4/21)
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Minnesota defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman (Profile 4/19)
Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt (Profile 4/20)
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North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron (Profile 2/9)
Tags: Beau Allen, Football, NFL, Non-Combine Invite, Nose Tackle, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, pre-draft visitors, Wisconsin