For the last two drafts under GM Ryan Pace, the Chicago Bears have stuck to a best-player-available approach, particularly in the first few rounds. That's unlikely to change during this upcoming draft.
So while the Bears are desperate for help in the secondary and need a franchise quarterback, all positions will be considered as Pace and Chicago's scouts build their draft board the next three months.
Historically, the best value for selections in the Top 5 overall are offensive tackle, quarterback and pass rusher. Most consider this year's class weak at both quarterback and offensive tackle, which puts a versatile defensive lineman like Alabama's Jonathan Allen smack dab in the middle of Chicago's radar.
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama (6-3, 291)
A two-year starter for the Crimson Tide. In 2016, he had 69 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and a team-high 10.5 sacks. For his effort, Allen was named the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Award winner as the nation's top defensive player. In 2015, Allen was named first-team All-ACC after piling up 12.0 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.
-Experience at both defensive tackle and defensive end in Alabama's 4-3 defense.
-Plays with good pad level off the ball.
-Outstanding upper-body power and elite strength in his hands.
-Active hands that allow him to shed blocks effortlessly.
-Light feet and great balance. Changes directions with ease, particularly for a player his size.
-Good vision against the run. Keeps eyes in the backfield and tracks ball carriers well.
-Phone-booth strength and agility is top tier. Violent rip and shed.
-Explosive off the snap.
-Can bulldoze his way through offensive linemen and into the backfield, then sidestep a block attempt on the following snap.
-Cannot be blocked by a tight end.
-Hands are always up when he's unable to push the pocket.
-Holds up well against double teams at the point of attack. Can be a load to move.
-Fundamentally sound. Sinks hips and anchors against the run.
-Intelligent player. Does well recognizing screens and adjusting accordingly.
-Doesn't have a full pass-rush arsenal. Relies on quickness and power, not technique.
-Struggles to turn the corner off the edge.
-Lacks ideal size. Considered light for a potential Top 3 selection and doesn't have prototypical 5-technique height.
-Talent level around him never allowed opposing offensive lines to focus mainly on him, as will surely happen at the next level.
Allen was a man among boys during his collegiate career. On film, he's often on another level and has the capacity to take over games defensively due to his extremely disruptive nature.
Allen has grown-man strength and has a lengthy highlight reel of snaps were he manhandles opposing offensive linemen. He's a 1-on-1 nightmare, one who can bull rush his way into the backfield on one snap, then finesse his way around a blocker the next.
As a pass rusher, Allen has experience rushing from every spot along the defensive line. When he reaches full speed, he's nearly impossible to block. He has an effective swim and rip move, using his active hands to create pass-rush lanes.
Against the run, Allen can be a pure 5-technique defender for the Bears. He absorbs double teams well, using his powerful low base to anchor inside.
Allen is a penetrating defender, which often brings him up-field at the snap. Opposing teams tried to use that against him, yet his change-of-direction ability often allowed him to recover and still make a play on the ball carrier.
For the Bears, Allen would serve as a 5-technique defensive end in base 3-4 sets. He could then rush from the interior on passing downs, or even off the edge. Along with Akiem Hicks, who led the Bears with 7.0 sacks last season, Allen would one part of a potentially dominant interior pass-rush duo. Those two, combined with Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee off the edges, could create a dangerous pass-rush front.
There are very few flaws to Allen's game. The only question mark is his size but remember, Justin Smith was only 6-4, 285, and he had a lot of success under Vic Fangio in San Francisco. Allen has the makings of the next Justin Smith.
In terms of best player available, Allen is near the top of this draft class. If he's not selected with one of the top two picks, it's unlikely he'll last past the Bears at third overall.null