Nick Saban approves of Redskins’ selection of Jonathan Allen
By Ian Cummings
The Redskins pulled off a heist on draft day, nabbing Jonathan Allen at pick no. 17, when many expected him to go in the top ten, if not the top five.
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While draft day slides such as this are often attributed to character concerns, as we’ve seen with players such as Laremy Tunsil and Robert Nkemdiche, Allen’s slide was due to reported issues with his shoulders. While doctors and coaches both voiced their lack of concern, the injury threat was enough to scare sixteen teams away.
When pick no. 17 came up, the Redskins quickly pounced on the opportunity. In the process, they bolstered an underwhelming defensive line, giving it much needed youth and natural talent. While some are still skeptical of his long-term contribution, you won’t find any doubt from Allen’s former coach, Nick Saban. Per ESPN’s John Keim, Saban, who worked closely with Allen over his college career, sees nothing but success in his future.
"“He has the athleticism of an outside linebacker, but he grew into being a good defensive lineman, so instinctive and smart as a player,” Saban said. “He really developed into a great pass-rusher. He’s really smart in terms of how he applies what he knows and how he studies and prepares. He’s very gifted as well. [The Redskins] got a steal because if everyone isn’t afraid of his shoulder, which was never a problem, here, he would have been picked in the top five.”"
There’s no questioning the fact that the Redskins hit the lottery on this one. The only existing question is that of Allen’s shoulder, and not even his former coach takes that question seriously. Allen is in a position to contribute right away on a line riddled with holes, washed-up veterans, and unproven players.
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With new additions Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee to provide more push on the edges, we should see improvement on the defensive line. The only question remaining is at nose tackle. But no matter what happens there, Jonathan Allen will provide a boost to the entire defense. But don’t take it from me. Take it from his coach.