Name: Jonathan Allen
Position fit: 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 defensive end. Regardless of “base” position, can rush from the interior in subpackages.
Stats to know: Led all interior defensive linemen with 67 pressures in 2016
What he does best:
- Explodes into blockers and controls the line of scrimmage
- Will stay square, work down the line of scrimmage in the run game
- Has the power to push the pocket as a pass-rusher. Can compress pocket from interior or off the edge
- Has quickness and hands to win on the inside against guards, versatile skillset allows him to rush passer from many different positions
- Relentless with his hands, will pick up late pressures
- Rarely loses on first contact against opposing blockers
- Had few opportunities to play 6-tech, but would likely be dominant run defender as base DE
- At his best when engaging and using his hands to shed blocks
- After playing only 401 snaps in 2015, Allen showed that he can handle more of a full-time role in 2016, playing 746 snaps while excelling both against the run and as a pass-rusher
- Lets blockers get into his pads and gets buried every now and then (Will powerful NFL guards have run game success?)
- When he does lose on first contact, can get engulfed
- Not as disruptive when shooting gaps, better at engaging blockers and using his hands to win
Player comparison: Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets.
While Allen and Richardson don’t necessarily defeat blocks in the same manner, Richardson has been productive both as a run defender and as a pass-rusher while playing multiple roles along the defensive front. Allen has the potential to produce in a similar way, providing a disruptive, playmaking presence against the run while creating pressure from the interior.
Bottom line: Allen is an appealing player for any defense regardless of scheme, especially given his ability to rush the passer and play the run on the interior. His best fit on early downs may be as a base defensive end that is capable of setting a strong edge in the run game and creating mismatches against tight ends while working inside in nickel and dime situations. Regardless of role, Allen has three-down potential at the next level and he’s one of the best players in the draft.