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NFL Draft 2014: Beau Allen proving skills to pro teams

A NFL Combine snub didn't stop Beau Allen from putting on a show at Wisconsin's pro day and generating buzz among NFL front offices.


It's been a busy few months for Beau Allen.

The former Wisconsin nose guard trained down at Athletic Edge in Bradenton, Florida, after playing in his 54th career game as a Badger -- a school record -- at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. In between training, he impressed at the East-West Shrine Game practices down the road in Tampa. Then, he participated in Wisconsin's pro day March 5back in Madison, bench pressing 225 pounds 30 times, running an unofficial 1.65-second 10-yard split and performing a 31-inch vertical jump.

Since then, Allen's been traveling often to meet with and workout for NFL teams.

"I've been a busy bee, man," Allen said with a laugh in a phone conversation last week.

He's had three private workouts, which normally consist of teams making a player perform defensive line drills and some whiteboard work. Allen said those can be more challenging, as personnel may test a player's endurance and conditioning. His presence has also been requested for eight on-site team visits. Though the miles he's traveled have increased, he's settled into the routine.

NFL teams, when inviting prospects to their facilities, only have each individual player for 24 hours. Flying in the night before, Allen normally dines with the coaching staff. An early wake-up call typically awaits him the next morning, as meetings with medical personnel, a tour of the team facilities and interviews with front-office personnel and coaches take up the entire day. From there, he's sent out the door back home.

One trip he didn't take was to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine in late February. Though six other former Badgers -- among them former teammates Chris Borland, Jared Abbrederis and James White -- were invited to the multi-day extravaganza, Allen's name was left off the list.

"I was really insulted, I guess, and disappointed that I wasn't at the Combine," Allen said, "but it actually worked in my favor because now I have so much more time to sit down with coaches and impress them with my football IQ and obviously, my smarts [laughs], and all the other things that I bring to the table."

Allen trained down in Florida with a group of about 12-to-15 other players. Only three or four of those prospects were invited to Indianapolis, as well.

The athletes worked out twice a day. Morning workouts consisted of agility or positional work, along with practicing running technique at different times. The afternoons were dedicated to lifting, either upper- or lower-body, along with coaching and learning how to interview. Allen felt the physical and mental drills helped turn some heads in the McClain Center that March afternoon.

"I think I felt the best I ever felt athletically," Allen said.

"I peaked right at pro day, and I had a really good pro day. I think I showed teams that I'm athletic and, I don't know what it is, man, but I feel like somewhere along the line I got a rap -- a bad rap -- for not being very athletic, and I think I kind of proved that wrong a little bit on pro day."

The physical drills during pro day let Allen stand out to the 20-plus scouts in attendance, but he's also had the experience of playing in both a 4-3 scheme, utilized by former defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge, and the 3-4 defense brought in last season by head coach Gary Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. The ability to adapt and play in both is an advantage for a defensive lineman prospect like Allen, who is also a three-year Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

"A lot of 3-4 teams play a lot of under or over concepts, and that's exactly what we did last year," Allen said. "These hybrid teams are everywhere in the NFL, so the more experience you have in both schemes, I think, the better."

Forty-one of Allen's 54 games were in played in a 4-3 base defense. As a defensive tackle, he had 13 tackles for loss (TFLs) and 6.5 sacks in 2011 and 2012 combined. In his final 13 games, as a nose guard in Aranda's 3-4, his primary responsibilities were to plug multiple gaps, but he still had 1.5 sacks and 2 TFLs, along with recording his first touchdown as a Badger at Arizona State on Sept. 14.

Allen also sat down with Aranda to talk about the concepts and the big picture when looking at the 3-4 scheme. Picking the brain of his former defensive coordinator helped him prepare mentally for the team workouts and visits.

"Obviously a lot of these teams are checking me out as a 3-4 nose guard," Allen said. "It's just the more you know and the more intelligent you are in these conversations, the better it is for you."

Though played in a 4-3 in three of his four seasons at Wisconsin, Allen enjoys playing the 3-4.

"I think it's cool," Allen said. "I think it's challenging to be a true nose guard.

"You're the only nose guard on the field. There are two cornerbacks, there are a couple linebackers, two defensive ends, but there's only one nose guard. You're faced with a lot of different, very tough blocks. It's a tough position to play, so how challenging it is, is intriguing."

This upcoming weekend, the former Badger heads back home to Minnetonka, Minnesota, to watch the draft. His family is planning a get together for close friends and family. Allen will have his phone by his side and checking his computer for the latest information available.

Though he's prepared himself nicely to play on Sundays at the next level, he does admit it'll be an adjustment not walking through the halls of Camp Randall Stadium in the fall.

"I spent a lot of time at spring practice, hanging out with [defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a], and obviously those guys on the football team, they're still my best friends, so I miss them and I checked out spring ball out a lot," Allen said.

"It just feels weird to not be in the locker room everyday and seeing those guys like you used to."

Allen will very likely wind up on an NFL roster at least for training camp, and one can assume he'll quickly win over new teammates with his quick-witted, outgoing personality, along with the work ethic and skills that have him one weekend away from realizing his dream.

Make sure you check out Beau's pre-draft columns on Fox Sports Wisconsin as well.