Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen will start his professional career as a member of the Washington Redskins after being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft on Thursday in Philadelphia.
The Alabama product entered this draft as one of the top prospects available. Bleacher Report NFL draft guru Matt Miller ranked him seventh overall on his big board released after the scouting combine.
The fact Allen slipped to No. 17 was a surprise for many. According to Syracuse.com's Matthew Fairburn, health concerns may have caused the drop:
ESPN's Jemele Hill thought Washington did well with its selection:
The MMQB's Albert Breer is high on Allen's potential:
Here's how others reacted to the pick:
In four years at Alabama, Allen was a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line. He recorded 44.5 tackles for loss and 28 sacks. His effort in 2016 was rewarded with SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best defensive player.
Beyond the production Allen had, scouting reports raved about his potential coming into the NFL, including this one from NFL.com's Lance Zierlein:
Outstanding leader and athlete with an ability to rush the passer from outside or inside. Has produced against the run and pass thanks to his strength, agility, elite hand usage, and plus footwork. He might not be the cleanest fit inside as a full-time tackle for some teams, but his talent should trump any size concerns. Allen is a likely first-round selection with Pro Bowl potential down the road.
In the predraft process, Michael Casagrande of the Birmingham News provided video showcasing Allen's side-to-side footwork in slow motion:
Allen has the versatility to play at defensive end or tackle. He moved all over the field at Alabama and never skipped a beat in any role, making him more attractive to NFL teams because he doesn't have to be substituted off the field.
This draft class was loaded with talent on defense, especially on the line, with Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas looking like future stars. Allen ranks alongside that duo and will be an impact starter as soon as he steps on the field for Washington next season.