With safety logjam, Nate Allen entering crucial offseason

With safety logjam, Nate Allen entering crucial offseason

April 2, 2013, 11:00 am
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Nate Allen was benched in favor of Colt Anderson for the Eagles' final two games last season. (AP)

Eagles safety Nate Allen has had three seasons to distinguish himself, but he still hasn’t played up to the capabilities the Eagles hoped he would.

No one has ever questioned his overall football intelligence and understanding of concepts on the field, but in many cases, especially the past two seasons, he’s been consistently inconsistent.

In 2012, Allen finished fourth on the team in total tackles with 81, which was a career high, but how many times did he miss tackles or get beaten on pass plays?

Several people close to the daily ongoings inside the organization assured me Allen, a second-round pick in 2010, was fine health-wise, except for one game he missed on Nov. 5 at New Orleans with a hamstring injury.

As Allen approaches this offseason, there’s a logjam at the safety position. General manager Howie Roseman signed free agents Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips, and they could be the starting safeties in 2013.

While Kurt Coleman’s defensive play last year was no better than Allen’s, Coleman does have value as a solid special teams player, and so does Colt Anderson, who was voted the squad's special teams MVP in 2011, even after missing the last four games with a torn ACL. Last year, Anderson led the special teams unit in overall points with 166 (determined by the coaches). David Sims is not a threat to be a starter, but is another guy with special teams ability. Sims finished sixth on the team in overall special teams points with 102.

I also believe the Eagles will draft another safety later this month, which could push Allen further down the pecking order and possibly right out the door. Unless Allen performs at an extremely high level during the upcoming OTAs and training camp (if the Eagles keep him that long), he could be riding on borrowed time.

But the good news for him is if another former second-round pick, Jaiquawn Jarrett, can find work (he signed a two-year deal with the Jets on Dec. 31, 2012), then some team will take a look at Allen and give him a chance to redeem himself.