The NFL draft begins on April 27th in Philadelphia and the Redskins have the No. 17 selection in the first round. This is the 12th in a series of stories analyzing 15 players who could be a good fit for Washington at that position.
For months it appeared Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen was ticketed for a top five selection in the 2017 NFL draft. He’s one of the most talented players available and at a position of need for almost every team on the defensive line.
But there are reasons to think Allen could slip and the Redskins would be thrilled if he did. He’s already had two shoulder surgeries and doctors have diagnosed arthritis in the shoulder that could pose an issue later in Allen’s career. It’s still a long shot that 16 other teams would pass on Allen, but his medicals will cause some worry. He went to high school in Loudoun County in the shadow of Redskins Park. It would be a nice story for a hometown kid to come home and play for Washington.
How he fits: Allen was unblockable at times as a senior with 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. He proved he was a three-down player, which was still a concern even after his brilliant junior season (12 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss). Allen can play inside or outside and relies on flawless technique for a player his age. An elite athlete who can chase the ball down the line when needed and even drop into space. Will be a factor against the run game and was a vocal leader at Alabama, a program with its fair share of elite players who will go in the first two rounds of this draft. They often deferred to Allen. A base defensive end who should be able to move inside on third downs.
Questions: There’s always a chance Allen played with so much talent at Alabama that he will struggle to adjust against double teams in the NFL. Certainly, he’s not quite big enough to fight through those yet. He could always add weight. But will that take away from his athleticism and versatility? For teams at the very top of the draft, Allen might be hit with the “safe pick” tag and they could want more than that. His shoulder injuries are a concern, but maybe not until later in his career. Allen also lacks ideal height for the position, but should be able to overcome that.
Allen’s take: “I did root for the Redskins growing up. That was the team I liked.’’
What they’re saying:
Mike Mayock, NFL Network
“What I like about him is he dominates outside in the run game. So you could line this 296-pound guy up outside on first down, if you wanted to, and let him set a physical edge. But I think he’s going to make his money as an inside pass-rusher. He’s quick enough to beat some of those guards and tackles, and he’s strong enough to beat those guards and tackles. So inside or outside, I think he’s a special player.”
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