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Bears: Illinois OL Nick Allegretti is a Late-Round Sleeper

The Bears shouldn’t have to look outside state lines for depth in the trenches, thanks to Day Three target Nick Allegretti.

University of Illinois offensive lineman Nick Allegretti was a common sight upon the Fighting Illini’s offense for most of his collegiate career. The Chicago Bears could be looking to draft an offensive linemen in the late rounds to add depth in the trenches, and Allegretti could very well fit their need.

Allegretti ended his career with 36 straight starts and was captain of the team in both his junior and senior years. He played both guard and center and was a strong presence at both positions. He also was a standout player at the East-West Shrine Game.

Allegretti not only is a productive player Illinois, but he also is a phenomenal leader and an amazing philanthropist. During his tenure at U of I, he was president of Illinois Uplifting Athletes chapter, which raises money for rare disease research and treatment. Not to mention he is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient.

All of this could make a useful late-round pick for Ryan Pace and the Bears, and I explain why here.

Positives

Experience. Allegretti appeared in every game from his redshirt freshman season to his final game of his senior season, and making 36 consecutive starts to end his college career. He has experience playing center and guard, giving him critical versatility. In addition to his college experience, he was also a three-year starter on his high school team and a four-year wrestler, meaning he has a very strong core and explosive quickness with his hands and hips.

Work-ethic. Allegretti showed incredible work ethic not only during his time at U of I, but also since his senior season has ended. During his time before the draft and before the Shrine Game, Allegretti spent time getting lessons from former Chicago Olin Kreutz. They Spent 10 sessions together working to hone his skills and make sure he was in perfect shape for his pro day and the upcoming draft.

Run Blocking. Running behind Allegretti was like running behind a semi-truck in the way that he created holes. He was amazing at fitting up and running his defender, usually in to the ground, on zone blocks. When an opponent decided to bull rush him, he quickly recognized it and dropped his anchor to make sure they did not get by.

Finishing the play. In the clip above (which is part of a very good thread by Chris Kouffman), you see Allegretti gain a near perfect fit onto his opponent. After that, however, the defender does slightly recover. Often, you will see linemen quit at this point for no apparent reason, but not Allegretti. He make sure to seal his block by driving his defender three or four yards back then planting him into the ground.

Negatives

Pass Blocking. Allegretti’s pass blocking could use some work, and particularly his changing of direction. It took him a little longer to change direction during his pass sets in college meaning, an athletic defender might have an advantage. He has decent balance, but his slow change of direction could be a major problem that teams will see in his profile. It’s no secret that he was more of a run blocker in college, so that should not surprise anyone.

Conclusion

I personally believe his positives greatly outweigh his negatives. And with his work ethic, Allegretti will make sure his weaknesses can be fixed.

Allegretti being a two time captain is uncommon for programs similar to U of I’s because a lot of the players tend to stay for all four years, so usually every captain is a senior. This shows just how much trust Coach Lovie Smith has in him and why he could be a leader on the offensive line for the Bears.

Follow Alex (@ABurdelik) on Twitter for more Bears news and opinion

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