No one needs to be educated on how gifted Devon Allen is as one of the world's great young track stars. Truthfully, it's his speed that earned him an opportunity to compete for a job on this Philadelphia Eagles roster last season, so yeah... as much as we have discussed him, we get it. We don't need to be hipped to his acumen in the 100-meter hurdles or study film to determine whether or not he has straight-line speed. Our questions are about something else entirely.
We don't know if Devon Allen can play football.
Philly has earned a reputation for turning over every rock during the process of roster building. This is, after all, the franchise that made a franchise left tackle out of a rugby star that didn't know how to put his helmet on when he arrived. There's one difference between Jordan Mailata and Devon Allen's backgrounds though.
Devon actually played football before he earned his football opportunity.
There's another difference between Devon and Jordan however, and it's probably the most important in terms of these guys' futures. Jordan is assured of a roster spot come September. Devon is not.
Devon Allen states he's the NFLs fastest man. Sadly, however, that won't assure him of a spot on the Eagles' 53-man roster.
Here's something you may see as being interesting. During a recent discussion with TMZ, Every Eagles fan's favorite track star made the boldest of bold claims. He believes he's faster than any other man playing in the NFL currently.
"I definitely am. I’m not gonna roast (Tyreek Hill and DK Metcalf) because what they did (during track appearances) was impressive. I raced Tyreek Hill when I was in high school. We raced and he smoked me when we were in high school and DK Metcalf ran a 10.3 a couple years ago. (That is) super impressive for a guy that’s six-three, six-four, 225, but I think especially at the top level, top-five, top-10 in the world, there’s a big gap in terms of just performance."
While it's hard to dispute what he's saying, it's hard to avoid arriving at the same two theories. Tyreek Hill and D.K. Metcalf will earn spots on their respective rosters, and we STILL aren't sure if Devon Allen can run routes or play wide receiver at the highest level of football.
Signed on April 8th of 2022, one day after being brought to the Eagles training facility for a workout, Allen signed a standard three-year undrafted rookie deal with the Birds. He caught a touchdown pass on a 55-yard bomb versus the Cleveland Browns during a preseason game but fell victim to the numbers game. He was waived on August 30th during final roster cuts and signed to the practice squad the next day.
We won't lie though. That throw and catch in front of the Dog Pound was a thing of beauty.
Entering 2023's version of Eagles training camp, there's a similar issue. There are probably six jobs available at wide receiver on Philadelphia's 53-man roster. A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Olamide Zaccheaus are certain to claim four of them. That means Allen, Greg Ward, Britain Covey, Charleston Rambo, Joseph Ngata, Jadon Haselwood, and Tyrie Cleveland are competing for the other two roster spots.
Here are two other issues. Many of those guys are ahead of Allen on the depth chart, especially after Devon missed OTAs recently.
To Allen's credit, he just recently enjoyed a nice showing at the 2023 USATF NYC Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York. Running the fourth fastest time this year in the 110-meter hurdles is a huge accomplishment and is nothing to sneeze at, but will that earn Devon Allen a job as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles? Let's just put it this way.
There isn't an Eagles fan in the Delaware Valley or anywhere else on Planet Earth that doesn't know the answer to that question. If we had to wager on his chances of making the 53-man roster right now, we'd probably wager against him, but stranger things have happened. Keep an eye on Number 82 this summer. Something tells us that we'll be mentioning him again.