Matt House: Josh Allen came back with a purpose
Josh Allen is considered a top-five selection on most mock NFL Draft boards. At least two national media members think he should be selected no lower than third.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. rated Allen as the third-best available player (behind Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams) and No. 1 linebacker in his latest “Big Board” rankings on Sunday.
FoxSports.com writer and “Good Morning Football” host Peter Schrager during a segment on NFL Network on Wednesday said that among a “bevvy of pass rushers” available in the 2019 draft, he’s “falling in love with Josh Allen.”
Schrager recounted a conversation with an “NFL source” who praised Allen’s decision to return to UK following his junior season, after which he could have entered the draft and likely would have been a mid-round selection. He finished his senior season with 17 sacks and led UK to a 10-3 record, only the third time the program finished with 10 or more wins in a season.
“From everyone I speak to, and it’s been a very small period since I’ve gotten here, they’re all saying make sure you watch the NFL Network on Sunday. Make sure you set your DVR on Sunday. Make sure you are there for when Josh Allen does his defensive drills at the combine — he’s about to blow this thing out of the water.”
The New York Jets enter the 2019 NFL Draft with the third overall pick. Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters Wednesday at the combine that New York would stick with a 3-4 defensive scheme instead of shift to a 4-3 scheme, a staple of newly minted defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The former would also better feature the talents of a guy who finished as UK’s single-season and career leader in sacks.
“If I’m the Jets, I am looking at Kentucky, I am looking at number 41,” Schrager said. “If Josh Allen can fall to me at number three, don’t get cute. Take the guy that everyone else is saying is going to be the high-rising prospect here at the combine.”
Allen was the subject of a recent feature — “Out of the Shadows” — as part of the NFL’s “Back 2 Campus” site. It highlights many details of Allen’s background with which most UK fans are likely familiar — that Monmouth was his only offer before UK swept in, that he decided to return for his senior year despite recently becoming a father, etc.
“Success for first-round picks is all about meeting the highest of expectations,” wrote Chase Goodbread in the profile. “But as NFL clubs conduct their deep-dive research on Allen ahead of the draft, they’ll discover a player whose arrival as an elite draft prospect hasn’t been marked so much by meeting expectations when they’re high. For Allen, it’s been more about raising them when they’re low.”