Red­skins land Vir­ginia na­tive Allen at 17th pick

Pro­jected to go in top 5, line­man pro­vides huge boost on de­fense

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY NORA PRINCIOTTI

ASH­BURN | As one of­fen­sive player af­ter the next went off the board Thurs­day night, it be­came clear that the NFL Draft’s first round was shap­ing up in the Red­skins’ fa­vor. All they needed to com­plete their dream sce­nario was a feel-good an­gle, and they got it.

With the No. 17 over­all pick in the 2017 draft, the Red­skins se­lected Jonathan Allen, a Vir­giniabred de­fen­sive line­man who was a stal­wart of Alabama’s tran­scen­dent de­fenses and can pro­vide im­me­di­ate help.

In col­lege he won the Chuck Bed­narik and Bronco Nagurski Award as nation’s top de­fen­sive player in Alabama’s ex­cep­tional de­fense. He made 96 tack­les, 16 tack­les for loss, and led the Crim­son Tide with 10.5 sacks.

He was first-team All-SEC for the se­cond year in a row, af­ter fin­ish­ing se­cond in the con­fer­ence with 12 sacks as a ju­nior.

Some projections had Allen go­ing in­side the top 5, but med­i­cal con­cerns seemed to push him down the board. Allen needed surgery in both his shoul­ders to repair with labral tears and still has moderate shoul­der arthritis.

At the NFL scout­ing com­bine, Allen said that, if he ever is im­pacted by the prob­lem, it will be 15-20 years down the line. Still, the fact that he fell to No. 17 shows that teams were wor­ried.

“Not at all, not at all, the shoul­der feels good. Ev­ery doc­tor said if there’s a prob­lem, it’s af­ter foot­ball, way af­ter foot­ball. I have no con­cerns with it at all,” he said.

Wash­ing­ton is need­i­est on de­fense, where the Red­skins ranked No. 28 in to­tal yards last sea­son, and seven of the top-10 play­ers se­lected were of­fen­sive play­mak­ers. Three quar­ter­backs were off the board by the time No. 17 rolled around.

Allen is the first de­fen­sive player the Red­skins have cho­sen in the first round since 2011, when

they took two-time Pro Bowl line­backer Ryan Ker­ri­gan. Now, Ker­ri­gan and Allen will be go­ing af­ter op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs to­gether.

With the way the first round played out, the Red­skins could have cho­sen mul­ti­ple play­ers who they might not have thought would be avail­able to them at No. 17. When the Red­skins chose, Alabama line­backer Reuben Fos­ter and FSU run­ning back Dalvin Cook were still avail­able.

The ques­tion with Allen will be whether or not his size, 6-foot-3 and 286 pounds, will work in the NFL and, as has been the case with Alabama de­fen­sive play­ers lately, whether or not his col­lege pro­duc­tion was a prod­uct sim­ply of his tal­ents or the ex­cel­lent play­ers around him.

Allen can play out­side and move in­side in sub­pack­ages, is tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient with good hands, and could help the Red­skins against both the run and the pass.

Allen, who went to Stone Bridge High School in Ash­burn, Va., was the 2012 Vir­ginia Ga­torade High School Player of the Year. Oh, and he was a Red­skins fan.

“I did root for the Red­skins grow­ing up, that was the team I liked,” Allen said at the com­bine.

It’s pos­si­ble that Allen’s med­i­cal re­port scared other teams off but the Red­skins were ap­par­ently com­fort­able enough with his health to make the pick, which looks like a pic­ture-per­fect steal.

With the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Cleve­land Browns went with a sure thing in Texas A&M de­fen­sive end Myles Gar­rett.

The league’s an­nual quar­ter­back crazi­ness started just af­ter, how­ever.

The 49ers flipped picks with the Bears, al­low­ing the Bears to move up to No. 2 from No. 3 over­all to draft Mitchell Tru­bisky, the quar­ter­back out of North Carolina.

In the trade, the Bears gave up the No. 67 and No. 111 picks in this year’s draft, as well as next year’s thir­dround pick. The 49ers took de­fen­sive end Solomon Thomas, re­port­edly the player they wanted all along, with the No. 3 pick.

Be­cause of the vol­ume of picks used to move up only one spot, the like­li­hood is that the Bears felt they had com­pe­ti­tion to move into the 49ers’ slot and take Tru­bisky.

Eight picks later, the Bills traded the No. 10 pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, who se­lected Pa­trick Ma­homes III, who played at Texas Tech. Buf­falo also re­ceived a large draft haul in the deal — No. 27 and No. 91 this year, and a 2018 first-rounder.

This year’s draft class was viewed as stacked on the de­fen­sive side of the ball, but quar­ter­backs and of­fense dom­i­nated the list of top picks.

Af­ter Thomas at No. 3, the Jack­sonville Jaguars took run­ning back Leonard Four­nette at No. 4. For the se­cond-straight year, a run­ning back went fourth-over­all af­ter Dal­las se­lected Ezekiel El­liott in that slot last year.

The Ti­tans picked wide re­ceiver Corey Davis at No. 5. Davis, who played at Western Michi­gan, be­came the high­est-drafted wide re­ceiver in Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence his­tory.

The 6-foot-3-inch Davis had 5,285 ca­reer yards re­ceiv­ing.

Safety Ja­mal Adams went at No. 6 to the Jets, then four more play­ers were taken on the of­fen­sive side of the ball.

The Los An­ge­les Charg­ers took Clem­son wide re­ceiver Mike Wil­liams at No. 7, the Carolina Pan­thers took run­ning back Chris­tian McCaf­frey at No. 8, the Ben­gals took wide re­ceiver John Ross at No. 9, and then the Chiefs traded up for Ma­homes.

McCaf­frey, at 202 pounds, had an NCAA record 3,864 all-pur­pose yards at Stan­ford last sea­son.

All in all, seven of the first 10 picks were of­fen­sive play­ers. In the end, the top of the draft was still de­fined by the strength of this de­fen­sive class, just not how every­one ex­pected: be­cause of the vol­ume of play­ers avail­able, the best of­fen­sive play­ers went off the board first.


The Red­skins took Alabama de­fen­sive line­man Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick on Thurs­day.


North Carolina quar­ter­back Mitch Tru­bisky was cho­sen by the Chicago Bears with the se­cond over­all pick in the NFL draft on Thurs­day night.

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