The New England Patriots open the 2016 regular season in six days, so we’re profiling the owner of the No. 6 jersey, punter Ryan Allen.
Size: 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
College: Louisiana Tech
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NFL experience: Three seasons
Two punters were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft; Allen was not one of them. Yet, he has made much more of a name for himself than Jeff Locke and Sam Martin, consistently being a top-ten punter in the NFL. It wasn’t easy for the Patriots to release Zoltan Mesko in final cuts three years ago, but the Patriots are better off with the Louisiana Tech product.
Allen has started every regular season and playoff game over the course of the past three years. His punts have averaged in the top-half of the league in each of those campaigns, and in 2014, he broke into the top 10 for punting average (46.4 yards). If you need to be sold on Allen any further, just look at this monstrous punt he pulled off against the Detroit Lions in Week 12 of the 2014 season.
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Believe it or not, Allen has etched his name in Super Bowl lore since entering the league as an undrafted free agent. In Super Bowl XLIX, he set a record with a booming 64-yard boot which helped the Patriots win the field position battle in that legendary game.
This year, the same will be expected out of Allen; consistent catching of snaps, avoidance of blockers and placement of punts. Punter is one of the most overlooked jobs, but also one of the most important. The Pats are lucky to have Allen.