LANDOVER, MD - The championship mentality that the Alabama Crimson Tide program exudes was evident Saturday when the Washington Redskins introduced their top two draft picks DE Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson.
For Allen, an Ashuburn, VA native, visiting Fed Ex Field for the first time as a player on the team he grew up watching was a bit surreal. "You know, it doesn’t even seem real at this point,” said Allen. After reminiscing the times he visited Washington's training facility back when Donovan McNabb was the quarterback, the Alabama mentality became evident. "That was then and this is now," he said. "This is my job and this is my business. It’s so exciting and it’s fun, but I’m just ready to get to work."
Though different personalities, these two Crimson Tide products are blue collar players. Ryan Anderson is more vocal and wears his passion on his sleeve. Jonathan Allen has a personality that will remind you of Ryan Kerrigan - calm leader. But both players will bring that lunch pale mentality to the Redskins that they so desperately need.
"He’s [Jonathan Allen] a guy, he can come in the locker room and change the mood of a lot of guys," Anderson said. "He has got that ability. He can joke around, but when it’s time to get serious and get on the field, he's all about his business."
Ryan Anderson has a presence to him that reminds me of Ricky Jean-Francois who was cut by the team earlier this offseason. One of the reasons I felt the Redskins should've kept Jean-Francois around is because of his leadership style. Win or loss, after games, Jean-Francois was the loudest guy in the locker room. He was always encouraging his teammates and was a vocal leader. Well, in Ryan Anderson, I think that void will soon be filled.
Aggressive, physical and nasty were the words Jonathan Allen chose to describe Ryan Anderson. Sitting directly in front of him at the introductory press conference were several members of the Anderson family including his mother, sister and brother. Anderson credits them as being the reason he's so passionate and packs an attitude on and off-the-field. "I always go out there and I'm playing for them," he said. "I'm playing for something bigger than me. It ain’t all about me."
Along with their championship mentality, both Allen and Anderson will bring versatility to the Redskins on defense. I fully expect Allen to be a base five technique (defense end) while dropping inside to the three technique in nickel. As for Anderson, he's a hammer. I think he'll be an edge setter and immediately help improve the run defense along with his pass rush capabilities. But I did also ask him about possibly playing some inside linebacker with his natural ability to locate the ball. Anderson told me that while that hasn't been discussed, he wouldn't be opposed to it. "This is my job now," he said. "I ain’t in college no more. I ain’t doing this for free... I'd be selling insurance.”
Yeah, he gets it. That's what I call a championship mentality.