clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nick Allegretti film review: starting potential found on day three

New, comments

There’s a lot of buzz about this seventh-round pick, and it’s justified by the intelligence and toughness we see on film

Illinois v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Editor’s note: This is our sixth film review of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2019 draft class. If you missed our review of second-round wide receiver Mecole Hardman, click here. If you missed our review of second-round safety Juan Thornhill, click here. Our review of third-round defensive tackle Khalen Saunders is located here. Finally, find our reviews of sixth-round cornerback Rashad Fenton and running back Darwin Thompson here and here.


It’s rare for the last pick an NFL team makes in the draft to make much noise — and even more rare for that player to be an interior offensive lineman.

When you also consider the player’s age (just 23), the all-star game in which he played (the East-West Shrine Game) and the general lack of hype around him — he was graded as a priority free agent by NFL.com and ESPN — the chance that Kansas City Chiefs seventh-round pick Nick Allegretti of Illinois would be the subject of very much hype would seem very slim.

But in post-draft media sessions, Chiefs area scouts, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach all expressed confidence in Allegretti; it became clear the team was completely in on the pick.

During Chiefs rookie minicamp over the weekend, the buzz around this relatively unknown player continued to build. Reid’s remarks about his toughness, on-field personality and play on the field have been nothing but positive; expectations of Chiefs fans are rising over this day three pick.

But whether the pick is from the second or seventh round, you know the AP Laboratory was burning the midnight oil on some Nick Allegretti film. Let’s have a look.

Illinois IOL Nick Allegretti

6’4” | 310 lbs

Toughness

The first thing that jumps out on Allegretti’s tape is the physicality and power in his play. His desire to finish every play and find as much work as possible is evident. Rarely can a player hang a lot of their potential success on a trait like being physical or tough — but if there’s a position where it can be done, it’s the interior offensive line.

Here working at right guard, Allegretti comes off the line of scrimmage with a good base and pad level, which allows him to withstand the initial punch of the defensive tackle. Allegretti places his hands well and locks on with a strong grip, which allows for full lateral control. The torque and leg drive he’s able to generate are the big selling point; he simply wants to punish the defender for being across from him.

Finish blocks can often be overrated, but the ability and desire to do it over and over again can’t always be taught. Allegretti ended this game against Nebraska with five pancakes — over half of them on defensive tackles.

Run Blocking

Allegretti’s toughness and desire to work is evident in nearly every snap — but it really shines in the run game.

On this snap, Allegretti is uncovered, and has a good first step off the line of scrimmage. He opts to first squeeze the A gap between him and the center before climbing to the second level. Even on his pass-by, Allegretti makes sure to chip the defensive tackles to make sure they are out of the play, and then he immediately turns upfield to find his next victim.

His change of direction may not be perfect when moving from one target to the next, but he’s very functional in framing his blocks and working into them.

This is very similar to the previous play, but this one offers a better view of the second level block. As Allegretti works off the initial chip, he squares up his hips to the linebacker. Rather than lunging or chasing with his feet, he sets his base and frames the block with his hands on the initial punch. As the block moves outside his frame, Allegretti slides his feet, which allows him to stay balanced and connected.

Lateral agility

In the clips I’ve shown you so far, you can see there is some stiffness — maybe clunkiness — in Allegretti’s transitions. It’s not overly noticeable when the space around the blocks is limited and when he’s working vertical to the second level, but it’s something to keep an eye on when he’s working in more space.

From his stance on the line of scrimmage to his missed blocks, there is a lot of ugly in this snap. But the depth of Allegretti’s set is good, and the initial footwork is something that should get cleaned up with NFL coaching.

Whether it’s because he gets stuck between two potential blocks or can’t adjust on the fly, Allegretti is a little late crossing the formation. This allows the defensive end to slip inside. After missing the initial block, Allegretti is looking for work again — but never fully regains his balance to get upfield and frame the next block.

While it doesn’t hinder his ability to pull around the horn, this shows how Allegretti’s lateral agility might be different from what we have seen in the play of Mitch Morse.

Here we can see Allegretti making a nice quick pull and flipping his hips around the defender to seal them off; he’s able to get just about anywhere you need him to be, but he will need to make some small adjustments to help with some of that stiffness.

The initial bucket step on this pull is pretty deep, and the path around the offensive tackle is a loop. Allegretti completely owns the snap by getting his hips around the defender and using that strong grip into their chest — but minimizing the depth of the step and path would allow him to get to that window a little faster.

Second level

I’ve already shown you examples of Allegretti working up into the second level and landing blocks, but most have come from offensive guard and after chipping on a combo block. Let’s take a look at how he does when he’s uncovered and has a complete free release into space.

On this play, I would have liked to see him lead with his play side foot on the 45 degree angle step; Allegretti consistently does a good job of squeezing next to his teammate before climbing, but the process could be sped up if he doesn’t have the small initial gather step.

After that, it’s all good for Allegretti as he looks to clear the defensive tackle while working directly off the guard’s hip. Once he’s free to the second level, he identifies his target and keeps working the same angle to avoid messing up the running lanes. Rather than trying to get out in front of the linebacker to seal him off, he recognizes the linebacker has overrun and uses that to make a cutback lane.

We see more excellent framing as he lines up his punch and connects first with his hands before running his legs into the contact; the subtlety of using his back side (right) hand to scoop the linebacker to ensure he can’t slip back inside is great — and as usual, once connected, Allegretti controls everything with his grip and rotational strength.

Range

Some offenses really won’t ask for much lateral range from their centers — but Andy Reid’s offenses do.

This is a long run from the far hash to outside the numbers while a defensive tackle sits in the back side A gap. Initially, Allegretti has to help sell the pass but also limit immediate pressure through a vacated hole.

He gets tied up a fraction of a second longer than anticipated while he forklifts the defensive tackle’s arm off of him, but then he gets up on his horse and out wide. While keeping his eyes downfield, he takes a perfect angle framing the block — one that gives the running back a two-way go.

Without knowing what is behind him, Allegretti gives the running back the option to cut off his own back side using that same inside arm scoop we saw before. He continues to run toward the sideline and lean into the block. This allows him to catch enough of the defender to throw off their balance and limit their ability to chase outside.

At first, this play may not look pretty, but the small stuff — clearing the the defensive tackle’s arm, the angle outside, framing the block for both directions — shows Allegretti’s raw ability to be effective in space.

Pass protection

One spot where Allegretti will need some more experience is in his pass sets. Illinois’ offense was built around the run game and simply didn’t feature many passing opportunities.

Allegretti once again exhibits excellent framing in his set, dropping and mirroring the defensive tackle. His initial punch on the tackle stalls the rush and he re-sets his base. As the tackle moves laterally, he slides his feet to mirror the rusher and gives up minimal ground.

His strong core and grip allows Allegretti to latch on to interior defenders and stall power rushers. When he did get exposure to traditional pass sets, he showed the ability to keep a clean pocket and limit interior rush. He’ll need significantly more repetitions at the next level to feel comfortable with him as a pass protector, but — like the rest of his toolset — the foundation is there for Reid to work with and develop as a potential contributor going forward.

Bottom Line

Nick Allegretti is an fascinating prospect — not only because the team is excited to get him, but also because of his play on the field; we definitely see traits and skills that could make a case for him to start early on. His understanding of blocks at any level, angles in pursuit — and his mentality — could allow him to put his foot in the door as starter competition.

On the other hand, some missteps in footwork and athletic limitations may make him a better candidate to sit a year and take in some NFL coaching; he could become more efficient with his movement to maximize his athleticism.

Either way, there’s reason for hope and confidence in his ability to start in the NFL. Whether it’s in year one or further down the line, Allegretti is the type of player who will get on the field during his career.