The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line has been without Roy Miller for much of 2016 and has been decidedly worse without him. Can they find a new solution in the 2017 NFL Draft?
Speculation will ramp up shortly about the 2017 NFL Draft and a lot will depend on who is coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars and – potentially – who is making the picks. General manage Dave Caldwell should feel safer than head coach Gus Bradley, but that isn’t saying much.
The defense hasn’t been the primary cause for concern in 2016, but it’s difficult to make an accurate assessment of this team’s talent due to the poor coaching. A fresh set of eyes (maybe Tom Coughlin’s eyes?) could see things differently.
One thing those fresh eyes may see is that the defensive line still isn’t doing enough. Struggling against the run since Roy Miller’s injury and still not harassing quarterbacks like they should, it wouldn’t be wild to think that the Jaguars turn to the defensive line again in the 2017 NFL Draft and get a premier talent.
That premier talent may well be Jonathan Allen out of Alabama.
Allen is a phenomenal talent. He makes plays that are both incredibly impressive and yet appear natural. For a big man up front, he plays with a fluidity that is widely appealing at the NFL level. Dan Schmelzer at NFL Spin Zone agrees, mocking Allen to the Jags:
"Allen is incredibly quick and explosive off of the snap and has ridiculous hands as both a pass rusher and against the run. He has a well-rounded skill-set that will translate extremely well to the next level. Allen is a bit of a tweener, but in today’s game of football, that is not a bad thing. Alabama does a great job of allowing Allen to dominate as a power defensive end on early downs, while he kicks inside as an impact interior rusher on passing downs."
It isn’t just this writer and Spin Zone that think he’d be a good fit, either. The talented Allen really could bolster pretty much any point on the defensive line and be used in a variety of ways to make sure quarterbacks and running backs are punished consistently. Walter Football calls him one of the top-four prospects vying for first overall and it’s tough to disagree. If he were to fall to the Jags early in the draft, he could end being an important addition to a group that may be overlooked on initial glance of Jags talent.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have invested a lot in the defensive line in recent years. They still aren’t good enough. That could change with Jonathan Allen in the 2017 NFL Draft. Adding another player with ‘Allen’ in his name wouldn’t be bad either.