Cards’ Selection Allen: “It’s Exactly Where I Wanted to Be”

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Cardinals third round selection Zach Allen does not believe in mailing it in.

The Boston College edge defender racked up 100 total tackles as a junior and logged double-digit tackles for loss his final three years of college. He thrived as a run defender, something the Cardinals desperately needed after giving up a league-worst 154.9 rushing yards per game.

“Without effort, you’re loafing and a loaf means you’re a traitor to your team,” Allen said. “At the end of the day, the only thing you can control is your effort and mindset. So I just really try to control what I can control, and effort is one of those things.”

Allen had to channel that mindset throughout the draft process as well. As a prospect, having control where you go is non-existent. It can be stressful going through the scrutiny of NFL draft evaluations. It can also be isolating.

“I’m excited to be on a team again. This whole process, it’s really individual-based and you miss being in a locker room. I’m excited to play with the best in the world and having a defense with Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs is going to be crazy.”

The Cardinals and Allen coming together may as well have been destiny.

The edge rusher spent time in Arizona while preparing for the combine with Team EXOS and fell in love with the state. From the weather to the mountains to the people, state 48 had struck a chord with Allen.

“It’s exactly where I wanted to be.”

Another draw to the desert was Cardinals defensive line coach Chris Achuff. Allen said the two hit it off in the draft process, sitting down together for 5-6 hours the day before Boston College’s pro day to discuss life on and off the gridiron.

“I think we have really good chemistry and I’m thrilled to be able to work with him and learn from him. He’s one of the best in the business, so definitely going to pick his brain and follow him and listen to everything he has to say.”

Achuff and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will hope to get the same kind of production out of their new edge as Paul Pasqualoni had while with the Eagles. Pasqualoni was the defensive line coach Allen’s sophomore year and is currently the Detroit Lions’ defensive coordinator. He helped instill Allen’s attitude that strangling the run game meant he could attack in passing situations.

“He always stressed you stop the run and then you get them into those third and longs where you get to rush to passer,” Allen said. “That’s really what we practiced and I took great pride in that. I wanted to be a complete player, so I was very fortunate to be in a system and on a team and just a culture where we were trying to stop everything.”

Stop everything? Sounds like music to Vance Joseph’s ears.