Beau Allen wasn't one of the 335 NFL draft hopefuls at the Combine last month. Nobody ever really told him why he wasn't there, but it came as a surprise to the senior defensive tackle from Wisconsin.
More importantly, though, it made him hungrier.
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"I think it was one of those things where I slipped through the cracks," Allen told Newsday by phone. "It kind of motivated me from the aspect of pro day is my one shot to showcase that I'm fast and my athleticism and things like that."
So Allen, who's been projected as a late-round pick or priority free agent in most mock drafts, took to his pro day on March 5 to catch up to the rest of the pack.
Judging by the tests, he's right back where he wants to be.
Although he didn't run the 40-yard dash because of a hamstring tweak, he did run a 10-yard dash -- a good test of overall burst, particularly for linemen. Allen said he was timed anywhere between 1.65 and 1.73 seconds. For comparison's sake, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney -- a likely top-five pick -- clocked a 1.56 10-yard split en route to a 4.53 40-yard dash at the Combine.
His 33-inch vertical would have been third-best among DTs at the Combine, while his 104-inch broad jump would have been ninth-best at the position. He also put up 30 reps on the bench press (seventh among DTs at the combine) and clocked a 7.29 three-cone drill.
"I think I'm really happy with where I'm at in the process so far," Allen said. "I feel like I'm underestimated. I have 54 games on film, and it's scouts and coaches that have access to that film that are going to give me my shot."
The initial Combine snub might have been a numbers game. A record 98 underclassmen declared for this year's draft. Since there's less film on underclassmen than seniors, the Combine is often skewed toward having more underclassmen. 87.8 percent of underclassmen that declared for the draft this year got a Combine invite (85 of 98), while 90.5 percent of declared underclassmen in 2013 went to the Combine (67 of 74).
Still, it didn't make it any less shocking for Allen.
"Every scout and coach I've talked to, they're all surprised that I wasn't there," he said. "I was surprised and frustrated initially, but at the end of the day, looking back, I think everything's worked out pretty well for me."
Allen was a nose tackle in the Badgers' 3-4 defense in 2013, but played in a 4-3 system for his first three seasons, making him an attractive option for teams in search of a versatile inside presence.
Allen doesn't see himself as a perfect clone of any current NFL defensive linemen, but he said he grew up watching the "Williams Wall" -- Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams -- and tries to follow in the footsteps of San Francisco's Justin Smith.
"I have a lot of respect for how he plays the game - just kind of doing the dirty work in the trenches," Allen said of Smith. "I think a lot of O-linemen that he plays respect and fear him, so I really try to emulate that."
Allen said he has private workouts and meetings scheduled with "a handful of teams" throughout April, though he wouldn't say which ones. In the meantime, he's been shifting his training regimen to prepare for the upcoming season.
"Before pro day, I was down in Bradenton, Fla., training for all the different testing and working on my running technique and my 40 starts and my jumping technique and all that kind of stuff," Allen said. "Now that pro day is over, it's just transitioning more into football training, getting ready for rookie minicamps and OTAs."
As for draft day plans, Allen said he hopes to lay low and just watch on TV with his parents and younger sister back home in Minnesota.
"Hopefully my mom will make something good," Allen joked. "Some good appetizers, good food."
Maybe a certain phone call during dinner will help sate his appetite.