Eagles draft South Florida S Allen

The Eagles drafted South Florida safety Nate Allen with their first pick in the second round of the NFL draft -- aka "The Donovan McNabb selection."

The Eagles received the 37th overall pick from Washington in exchange for their one-time franchise quarterback. They made good use of it, taking a player at a position that was a definite need.

"Whatever they need me to do, I'll do it," Allen said via conference call.

The Eagles passed on Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays, who was also still on the board. With the their first two picks in this year's draft, the Eagles have now taken two defensive players -- defensive end Brandon Graham and Allen.

There was speculation that the Eagles would trade away the 37th pick in the hopes of getting back additional picks and because they might not have wanted to burden a draftee with the label of being the player they got for McNabb. Allen was asked if he thought the McNabb tag would bring any added pressure.

"Not really," he said. "It's an honor to be even considered. Just being in the NFL draft is an honor, to me. ... I'm just so excited. I'm ready to get up there and start working hard."

Allen didn't visit with the Eagles, but he said he met some of the team's representatives at the Indianapolis combine in February.

"They definitely showed interest at the combine," Allen said.

Allen will likely compete for the open free safety position -- the spot once occupied by Brian Dawkins for over a decade. Last season, Macho Harris, Quintin Demps and Sean Jones each failed to secure the starting role. Harris and Demps are expected to be back, and the Eagles aquired Marlin Jackson in the off-season. Quintin Mikell is slated to return as the starting strong safety.

There had been some concerns about the 6-foot, 207-pound Allen's tackling.

"I'm just going to come in and show everyone that I can be a consistent tackler," Allen said. "I can always improve in everything."

The Eagles still have one more pick to go tonight. They still hold the 23d pick (55th overall) in the second round.