Can Devon Allen complete the climb to an Eagles roster spot?

Devon Allen, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Devon Allen, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Hang out with anyone who truly loves this Philadelphia Eagles team and pick their brain on why they do, and you’ll begin to notice something about the organization and its biggest stars for yourselves. They’ve long been a collection of characters who have character.

It begins with the CEO/chairman Jeffrey Lurie, a producer of motion pictures who is also a champion in the battle versus autism. Whether we’ve fallen in love with magicians (Jon Dorenbos), men of faith who’ve given blood, sweat, and tears both on the field and off (Brian Dawkins, Malcolm Jenkins), or fallen in love with guys that make you feel like they’re just like us (Jason Kelce), the Birds have never been short of a few characters.

Do we even need to mention Brandon Graham or Nick Sirianni? How can you look at those guys without smiling? Philly has long been littered with men that we can cheer for both on the field and while watching The Masked Singer, and whenever training camp rolls around, there’s always at least one fairy-tale ride that we can attach ourselves to.

How realistic are Devon Allen’s chances of making the Eagles’ roster?

Every year, on every team, there’s an annual conversation about undrafted guys, dark horse candidates with a chance of earning a spot on the roster. It’s beginning to look like T.J. Edwards, a former undrafted rookie that the Eagles added in 2017, is ready to take the mantle as Philly’s starting middle linebacker. Is there a T.J. Edwards in the current mix of newcomers?

Some point to Devon Allen, a former Oregon Ducks standout and a track and field star. He has an uphill climb to make the roster. He also has his fair share of supporters, but he hasn’t played football since 2016. Recently, he discussed the difficulty he’s faced in adjusting. Thank the Eagles’ official website and Dave Spadaro for the quote.

"The transition, I would say, is going well. It’s definitely hard – I didn’t expect it not to be hard. It’s been about five years since I played and obviously, everybody in the NFL is the best player on their team, so it’s really competitive, which is great. I’ve got a lot of good receivers on the offense that I can learn from even when I’m not taking reps, so that’s kind of my goal and my key now, to learn the offense for one and to take as much information in as I can to learn and get better… I think my upside is probably high just because I haven’t done it in so long I can probably get a lot better pretty quick."

The Birds figure to carry six wide receivers on the 53-man roster. A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Pascal are assured of roster spots, and that means Allen is competing with seven other guys for two roster spots. Philly hasn’t introduced an official depth chart yet, but we’ve all constructed one in our imaginations.

Making this team won’t be easy, but for Allen, a three-time U.S. national champion in the 110 meters hurdles, the impossible can sometimes come easy.

"The nuances are much different than college and it’s been so long since I’ve played, right, that I have to remember the intensity and the tempo that all the coaches want in practice and how to practice and how to get a good rep even if we’re just in helmets or just in shells and then getting all the walkthrough reps I can. Learning the offense is the biggest thing. Just the intensity is a lot different. It’s good on good every play, no matter ones, twos, threes. It’s really fun and competitive and it’s not easy for sure."

Keep an eye on Number 39 this preseason. He should be fun to watch. Earning a spot on the 53-man roster seems unlikely, but you never know. That’s why teams host training camps. Either way, if you’re looking for a feel-good story, just knowing he’s at Eagles camp and competing should give you one.

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