MOBILE, Ala. – Zach Allen became an impact player at Boston College right around the same time current Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni became the defensive line coach at BC in 2016.
Allen recorded 6.0 sacks that season, his sophomore year, and recorded 10.0 tackles for loss. Allen credits Pasqualoni for making him a more complete player, something he hopes to showcase this week at the Senior Bowl.
"That's kind of one of my strengths is my versatility and how I can play across the line and I was very fortunate to have coach (Paul) Pasqualoni kind of teach me all the techniques and everything before he left for Detroit," Allen said. "He was really just big on every week we're going to line up against them the way we think we can win."
Whether that was Allen playing a four technique or stand-up zero or the nine technique, Boston College and coach Pasqualoni did what it took to win.
That's the mantra of head coach Matt Patricia and why he chose Pasqualoni as his defensive coordinator. Allen certainly sounds like a player Patricia and Pasqualoni would appreciate.
Allen recorded 16.5 sacks over the last three seasons at Boston College, but had 40.5 tackles for loss playing just about every position along the Eagles' defensive front.
"I'm already seeing in the meetings now the knowledge I got from (Pasqualoni) last year definitely helps and I'm able to pick up things easier," Allen said.
So, would Allen want to rejoin Pasqualoni in Detroit as a possible Lions draft pick?
"I'd love that, yeah," Allen said. "He was probably the biggest influence on my football career and he also taught me a lot of lessons outside of football. I was very sad to see him go (to Detroit as defensive coordinator) but it's a great opportunity that you have to be happy for him and working with him again would be fantastic."
Allen (6-4, 280) is considered right now to be the fifth ranked defensive end by ESPN's Todd McShay. ESPN's Mel Kiper lists him at No. 4 on the defensive end list.
He's a terrific talent with a lot of versatility and a familiarity with the Lions schemes and techniques.
Allen said the biggest lesson Pasqualoni taught him was how to be mentally tough. It's his goal to be the type of player who comes into the NFL with the ability to perform at a high, consistent and dependable level every day without having any bad days in the process.
"That's kind of the way that I think he is the perfect coach," Allen said of Pasqualoni. "When we're in the football building it's time to work and that's kind of what we are. There's a time to work and a time to play. Honored to play for him and hopefully get to play with him again."