2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jonathan Allen
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: I recapped over well over 100 games during the 2016 season, and in my opinion, Allen was the best player in college football. If the Heisman Trophy were a genuine award that actually went to the best player regardless of position, Allen should have won the award for his dominant year.
Allen became a starter as a sophomore and put up decent numbers. He totaled 33 tackles with 11.5 for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 2014.
Allen could have been a first-round pick if he had entered the 2016 NFL Draft, as the junior played really well with 36 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes batted. He was the Crimson Tide's best defensive lineman and front seven defender, and the team won the National Championship thanks to that defense and its running game. Considering the front seven was comprised of early round talents like Reggie Ragland, A'Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams, it is really saying something that Allen was the best among them.
Allen was even better as as a senior, dominating his opponents on a weekly basis. In 2016, he totaled 62 tackles, 15 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, two passes batted and one interception. That pick was returned 75 yards for a touchdown against Ole Miss. All season, Allen dominated at the point of attack. He was a tremendous interior pass-rusher and also caused havoc in run defense.
In the pass rush, Allen is tremendous. He is a quick defender at the point of attack with the ability to fire his gap. He uses his strength to shed blocks and can close in an instant on the quarterback. Allen has a burst to fire by guards into the backfield and the power to bull rush through linemen. He also has natural strength to manhandle offensive linemen and toss them to the side. Allen will also punish quarterbacks and put them into the turf hard. He displayed excellent versatility during college in terms of rush production from a variety of positions and techniques, presenting as a danger at end or tackle. Allen is very consistent at putting heat on the quarterback.
Allen is very tough as a run defender, too. He fills his gap and is very hard to move at the line of scrimmage. Allen eats up his block and prevents holes from opening up. Regularly, you will see him shed his block to stuff a run near the line of scrimmage or fire into the backfield to disrupt a run off the snap. Allen is a well-balanced defender who is effective at limiting both the rushing offense and passing attack.
Sources say that Allen is a good kid off the field. He doesn't get in trouble, is smart and is a team leader. They really like him off the field. In his down time, he is said to be low-key and not a partier. He likes hanging out with his dog and girlfriend, and playing computer games.
For the next level, Allen fits any defense. His best position would probably be a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. He also could play end in a 4-3 and move inside for passing situations. Allen also has the length to play end in a 3-4 defense.
For the NFL, Allen has great potential to be a superb defender. He should hear his name called as a top-16 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and could easily be a top-five selection.
Player Comparison: Aaron Donald. Some have compared Allen to Ndamukong Suh, which I think is a fair comparison as well. I went with Donald because Donald and Allen are very similar in size and both are tremendous interior pass-rushers. Each was very consistent in college at getting to the quarterback with an excellent combination of strength and speed. Allen is also good off the field, like Donald, where as Suh can be selfish and a negative presence in the locker room. In the NFL, I think Allen will be a defensive lineman similar to Donald.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville, Carolina, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Washington
Among the top-10 selections of the 2017 NFL Draft, there are a lot of teams that could consider drafting Allen. His versatility for a 4-3 or 3-4 defense means he can fit just about any team.
The 49ers could take Allen with the second-overall pick. They have ends DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead from their last two first-round picks. Allen could play three-technique on the inside of them.
If the Bears don't take a quarterback, Allen could be in play for them. With Eddie Goldman at nose tackle, Allen could be an impactful five-technique and would give the Bears a talented front seven with Leonard Floyd, Willie Young and Danny Trevathan.
The Jaguars' defense could be set for years to come with Allen rushing on the inside of Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue. Allen could be a difference-maker in Jacksonville.
Carolina could consider Allen as Julius Peppers is not a long-term starter. One pick later, Cincinnati could take Allen as an upgrade to its defensive line. He could rush from the inside next to Geno Atkins in passing situations.
If Allen were to fall to pick No. 12, that would be amazing for Cleveland as the team could field one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL if it takes Myles Garrett at No. 1 overall. The Browns could use a three-technique defensive tackle for their switch to the 4-3 scheme, and Allen could fill that role by playing next to nose tackle Danny Shelton. With Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah at end, Cleveland's line could be tremendous.
In the teens, Arizona would be a fit for Allen as well. The Cardinals need a five-technique to replace Calais Campbell. The Colts need a difference-maker on their defensive line, and it is hard to see Indianapolis passing on Allen if he gets to the organization's pick. Baltimore traded away Timmy Jernigan and could use a tone setter on its defensive line. Lastly, the Redskins need more talent on the defensive line, and Allen would be a no-brainer for Washington at No. 17.
2017 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's
2017 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
2017 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
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