Jonathan Allen played high school football at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia. In his senior season, he was named the Virginia Gatorade Football Player of the Year. Heavily recruited as a 5-star prospect, he received 18 offers but chose to play for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The true freshman got his feet wet in 2013, appearing in 13 games. In 2014 he received more playing time, appearing in 14 games, including 12 starts. He recorded 32 tackles and 11 for a loss. He also had 5 sacks in his sophomore season.
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In 2015 he was a full-time starter for the national champions. Allen burst onto the scene as a top prospect compiling 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson took a lot of the attention away from Allen that season and both were second-round draft picks.
He decided to come back for his senior year and was the elder statesman for the defensive line. With the added pressure he compiled a career-high 69 tackles, 16 went for a loss and added 10.5 more sacks. He had 3.5 sacks in three playoff games, the SEC title game, the national semi-final game and the National Championship.
He won the Nagurski and Bednarik awards his final season as the nation’s top defensive player.
Allen, who is 6-foot-3 and hovers around 290 pounds, has played all over the line in college. This type of versatility is a definite plus for NFL teams. Inside, he makes a great 3-technique as he can take offensive linemen one-on-one and pressure the QB. He sheds blocks quickly to help slow the run game. Given his size and strength, he would not need to come off the field in goal-line situations.
Playing under Saban for his full commitment has given him plenty of experience and great coaching. This coaching has allowed Allen to become a technically-sound defensive lineman. Allen comes into the NFL as much a complete package as you will find.
As an NFL prospect, he is as much a complete package as you will find. He has shown the ability to perform in high-pressure situations in the biggest of college games.
In his Allen’s NFL draft profile, Lance Zierlein states:
"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."
Allen has great athleticism although it is not considered elite. He could add some more bulk as he will be facing bigger, stronger offensive linemen at the next level. He has not shown a tendency to force turnovers or get his hands up to deflect the pass.
The biggest concern for NFL teams is an ongoing health issue with his shoulders. Per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report:
"Allen had two shoulder surgeries at Alabama and in the days before the combine the Crimson Tide team doctor told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Allen has arthritis in both shoulders. It was smart for Allen to get ahead of the news and acknowledge the issue instead so it wouldn’t become a bombshell in Indianapolis. Though he’s a sure-fire top-five player on the field, Allen’s shoulders may not hold up long-term in the NFL. There’s no doubting his toughness after he played through the pain at Alabama, but will the potential risk of losing Allen to injury push a team to select someone like Solomon Thomas of Stanford ahead of him on draft day?"
Even with the injury concern, Allen would still be a great addition for the Browns.