The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen had a fantastic senior season that saw him win the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is given to the country’s top defensive player. He’ll now look ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft as one of the top prospects.
2018 stats: 88 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, four passes defended, two fumble recoveries, five fumbles forced
Size: 6-foot-5, 260 pounds
Allen is such a good prospect because of his versatility as a player that can rush the passer and cover. His play over the last few seasons has elevated his status from a relatively unknown player to a likely first-round pick.
At Kentucky, Allen registered 220 total tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 31.5 sacks, one interception, eight passes defended, two fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He is one of the most improved players over the last four seasons in college football, as he got just 0.5 sacks as a freshman and seven sacks in his sophomore and junior seasons before exploding with 17 sacks as a senior. His production improved, but so too did his physique. He walked on to campus at just over 200 pounds, but has managed to add enough strength to really be effective.
If he had come out in last year’s draft, Allen would have been a borderline first round pick. After the season he put together in 2018, Allen should be one of the first players off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Allen can play with his hand on the ground or while standing. At the snap of the ball, he is quick off the line of scrimmage. His burst and speed help him win on the edge as a pass rusher. Offensive tackles rarely can recover to keep up with him because of his quick first step.
As a pass rusher, Allen wins due to his speed on the outside. He demonstrates his good balance and bend getting around the edge. Allen also wins with a good rip move and has shown the ability to fight off blockers with his hands, although there is some room for improvement. Allen finishes the play with a sack or a forced fumble after he wins on the outside.
Most teams would see Allen as a pure pass-rusher, but he can drop back in coverage too. Often times at Kentucky, Allen was successful dropping back in zone coverage. In man coverage, he could match up and keep up with tight ends and running backs.
While Allen is a good pass-rusher, he could improve against the run. Allen needs to set the edge better and shed blocks, as he can’t use his speed just to go around people in the running game, as that puts him out of position. He does pursue the ball well, but is often times out of position to make the play.
Another area that Allen could improve is his counter moves. When an offensive lineman does keep him from getting the edge, he needs to counter better with his hands and other pass rushing moves. If offensive linemen stop him from getting the edge, he can be ineffective as a pass rusher.
Allen finishes plays well in pass rushing, but against the run needs to make sure to finish a play with a wrapped up tackle. Most of the time he does fine, but at times he can miss tackles and give up big plays.
Projected Draft Range: Top 10 pick