Now that Josh Allen has been drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars at the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tenn., here's a look at what fans need to know about the 6'5", 262-pound University of Kentucky outside linebacker.
He would have been a fringe first-rounder had he entered the 2018 draft, but Allen opted to return to school and went from good prospect to borderline elite. He played at a noticeably bigger size his senior year (he added somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 pounds, depending on your source) and, while adding strength, didn’t lose anything in the way of movement skills. Primarily an edge rusher, he is flexible, agile and fast bending the edge. He has tremendous get-off and initial quickness, and his ability to dip and bend the corner is as good as anyone’s in this draft. He made better use of his length, showing more strength in warding off blocks in 2018, and he showed a better feel for his counters last season. His closing burst is as good as it gets. Against the run, Allen probably doesn’t quite play up to his size as an edge setter, sometimes getting too high and giving ground and too often stalemating against tight ends, but he’s good enough. He’s much better in pursuit, where his speed comes into play. He has the ability to run sideline to sideline if used as a stack linebacker. He’s very good dropping into coverage.
The one criticism of Allen is that he doesn’t always effectively set the edge as a run defender. Opponents are going to run right at him early in his career.
With the advantage passing offenses are enjoying in the modern NFL, everyone is looking for pass rushers to counter, allowing the defense to become the aggressor. Allen gives a defense that ability. He’s a true edge burner who brings the total package in the passing game, counterbalanced by some run-game issues.