The Eagles have several interesting storylines to monitor heading into the 2022 season. Among them is 27-year-old undrafted rookie wideout Devon Allen.
The former Oregon Duck hasn’t played organized football since 2016. In the meantime, Allen has made a living on the track, becoming a two-time olympic hurdler. Just a few weeks ago, Allen ran the third-fastest time in the history of track and field on the 110-meter hurdle, posting a 12.18-second time. He beat Olympic silver medalist Grant Holloway, who came in second with a 13.06 time.
Looking back on Allen’s career on the football field, it’s pretty difficult to draw any conclusions on his play — other than the fact that he was a one-trick receiver who was a deep threat only. In his final year with the Ducks, he appeared in three games and recorded just four receptions, but he averaged a whopping 35.3 yards on those few catches.
Allen was productive as a sophomore in 2014, recording 41 receptions for 6484 yards and 7 touchdowns. After that, Allen never recorded more than 10 receptions in a season.
He’s undeniably a long-shot to make the final roster this season, even if he does have a great training camp. But having world class speed at the receiver position is also undeniably intriguing. Looking at the Eagles wide receiver room, almost all of the spots are already essentially set in stone.
- A.J. Brown
- DeVonta Smith
- Quez Watkins
- Jalen Reagor
- Zach Pascal
- Greg Ward (?)
I can’t imagine the Eagles will keep more than six receivers on their final roster. They only carried five on the initial 53-man roster last season, but with the added talent, they could opt to increase that to six. In that scenario, Allen will have to beat out Greg Ward for that final spot. He won’t be the only one fighting for that final spot either. John Hightower, Deon Cain, and Britain Covey are all in the running.
Beating Ward out for the final spot on the receiver depth chart would also mean the team would have to find a new returner on special teams. Allen only recorded 8 returns during his three-year career at Oregon, but with his speed, he’s an obvious candidate to fill in for returning duties.
As crazy as it may sound, I think there’s a chance Allen can crack the final roster. Ward had a nice run from 2019-’20, but he is what he is at this point — an undersized slot receiver who isn’t overly quick of fast.
Howie Roseman talked a lot about acquiring ‘rare traits’ this offseason. It was one of the main reasons the front office felt comfortable drafting Jordan Davis in the first-round. Devon Allen clearly has some rarity in his skill set. Forget being the fastest player on the team, Allen is one of the fastest people in the world right now.
The Allen signing gives me Jordan Mailata vibes. But there are a few key differences. First and foremost, Mailata was 21 when he became an Eagle. Allen is 27. It goes without saying that developing a player with minimal football experience at 21 compared to 27 is much more plausible. But, Allen did actually play football before, whereas Mailata never even touched a football until he was drafted.
Whether Allen makes the final roster or not, he will be the most interesting player to follow during camp this year. I’m excited to see what he can do.
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