On Wednesday, April 27th, I handed the Washington Redskins an "F" grade for their current defensive line roster. Obviously they took that to heart by drafting Alabama Defensive Lineman Jonathan Allen (6ft 3, 286) just a day later! With the pick, Allen becomes the first defensive player selected by the Redskins in the first round since Ryan Kerrigan in 2011. It's also the first true down defensive lineman the team has drafted since DE Kenard Lang in 1997, which is astounding.
Allen, an Ashburn, VA native, was a consensus top-10 pick throughout the pre-draft process. Personally, he was the 10th ranked player on my top-50 draft board, so picking him at 17 overall was great value for the Redskins. The only realistic options that I had ranked ahead of Allen were his teammates O.J. Howard (2nd ranked) and Reuben Foster (9th ranked).
From my draft guide, Jonathan Allen was one of five players I listed that would top my board at 17 overall:
Jonathan Allen (10th ranked): If he falls, it will be because of his medical and maybe even due to his average combine. He's not the freak athlete that you see typically go top ten. But where he wins is with his technique and hands. He'd immediately be the most talented defensive lineman on the Redskins.
The addition of Allen certainly bolsters Washington's defensive line as a unit. There's a trickle down effect that will happen because of Allen. I believe he'll be a base five technique (defensive end) and have the capability of moving inside to the three technique, which is what Chris Baker mostly played. That means either free agent signings Stacy McGee or Terrell McClain will have to move inside and be a rotational player. That, in my opinion, was best case scenario anyway. Both players are complementary, rotational pieces.
Although Allen lacks some of the freakish athletic traits that top-defensive linemen typically have, I think he offsets that with technique. He could absolutely be an exception to the "measurables" rule because of how he plays. I think Allen will immediately help you against the run and create push in the pass game. His footwork and strong hands will benefit him especially in the phone booth at the three technique. This is just a super solid pick for the Redskins. You won't have to worry about this guy both on and off-the-field.