Defensive end Zach Allen, of Boston College, said being able to play with the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who he dubbed the “greatest of all time”, would “be special”.
New England are rumoured to be interested in bolstering their defensive line and the 24-year-old might fill that role come draft day.
Allen, who can play both up front and on the edge, has the versatility which could be attractive to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Some NFL experts believe the 6’4”, 281 lbs defensive linesman could even go late in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I had a lot of different roles during my time at Boston College,” Allen said.
“I played in a lot of fronts, 4-3, 3-4, overs, 5-technique, pretty much everything. At BC we did it all. I’m fine with whatever helps the team.
“I’m open and willing and don’t really have a preference.”
Allen has already met with the Patriots at the Senior Bowl and briefly at the combine and is likely to be scouted again during his Pro Day.
And the idea of being able to play at Gillette Stadium is an attractive option for the young man from Connecticut.
“Obviously they’re the Super Bowl champs,” he said.
“They know how to win. The city of Boston was really good to me and my family, and being in the locker room with the greatest of all time, both the quarterback and the coach, would be special.”
During his time with BC he made 100 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a junior before a foot injury restricted him to 61 tackles and 6.5 sacks this past season.
NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein believes Allen’s intuition helps him overcome his lack of natural physique.
Describing Allen, Zierlein said he is a “hard-charging defensive end who calls on initial quickness, play strength and outstanding instincts to counter his lack of length and athleticism.
“Allen’s toughness and ability to diagnose quickly could allow him to play early as a run defender, but limitations as a rusher could push him inside on passing downs.
“He has average starter’s potential and could be in consideration by odd or even fronts at defensive end.”
During the combine Allen admitted he grew up as a Giants fan and so was brought up to see the Patriots as the enemy, but also revealed how much of opportunity it would be to learn from Brady and Belichick.
“I was 45 minutes to an hour away from New York, so I grew up a Giants fan. I got two Super Bowls out of my childhood,” Allen said.
“And even though when I was a kid, they were the enemy, you can’t deny what they’ve done and not respect it. It’s absolutely tremendous.
“For the opportunity to play for a franchise like that, it would be absolutely awesome. It would be a huge honour to learn from that culture and to play football.”