It is a measure of just how loaded the 2019 Draft is along the defensive front that any one of the top prospects would likely be a consensus number one selection in almost any other year.
One of those players is also a lesson on the importance of patience, work ethic, and player development.
Kentucky’s Josh Allen was considered a solid prospect for the 2018 draft and would have been one of the first EDGE players off the board -- though he wouldn’t have challenged Bradley Chubb for the title of top EDGE. Instead, he returned to school and saw a dramatic improvement over his senior season.
Now Allen is reckoned as one of the top prospects in the entire draft and a likely top five selection. With the New York Giants drafting at sixth overall, it’s unlikely that he will fall to them, but crazy things happen on draft night so we should take a look at him.
- Prototypical size, weight, and frame for the position.
- Played left and right EDGE, from two and three-point stances, as well as off-ball linebacker.
- Very good athlete with an elite first step.
- Excellent hand usage.
- Very quick in a phone booth
- Very physical player. Sets a firm edge in run support and looks to deliver hits.
- Experienced and comfortable dropping into coverage.
- Shows good awareness in zone coverage.
- Got better every year at Kentucky.
- Elite production his senior year: 88 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 4 passes defensed.
- Shows some slight lower-body tightness.
- Could do a better job of incorporating counter moves in his pass rush.
What They’re Saying
“True hybrid linebacker with elite physical traits who has the ability to float between coverage and pass rush duties. Allen’s diverse skill-set could offer a creative defensive mind a fun toy to deploy around the field, but his NFL value will rest in his ability to menace the pocket as 3-4 rush linebacker. He’s fine-tuned a couple of go-to rush moves but will need to continue to diversify his rush portfolio as a pro. He’s not a glass-chewer and doesn’t always impose his will at the point of attack, but the tools to become dominant as a run defender and pass rusher are all at his disposal.”
Lance Zierlein (NFL.com - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Allen would be one of the best candidates for EDGE player for the Giants’ defense. His ability to rush the passer and generally disrupt offenses in opponent’s backfields would certainly be a welcome addition to a Giants’ defense that is lacking in the ability to do those things. Allen also has the ability to rush standing up as well as with his hand in the dirt, as well as play effectively as an off-ball linebacker. And while Allen should be going downhill and into opponent’s backfields on the vast majority of his snaps, the ability to drop into coverage would help with James Bettcher’s blitz schemes.
Allen’s hand usage is very good for a player coming out of college and he shows a variety of moves to keep blockers from locking in on him and absorbing his first step. He isn’t a power rusher, but does show solid strength when setting an edge in the run game.
Pointing out the negatives in Allen’s game is really an exercise in nitpicking. He has good bend compared to most pass rushers, but there is some slight lower-body tightness that can compromise his balance when trying to accelerate while turning a tight corner. He could also do a better job of exploiting inside rushing lanes when they present himself.
Allen would be an outstanding addition to the Giants’ defense, but while almost anything is possible in the draft, it is very unlikely that he lasts to the sixth overall pick