Stud defensive lineman Jonathan Allen could be the easy answer at fourth overall for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock drafts get plenty of attention across NFL media. He is one of the most insightful draft analysts and his word is often quoted from casual football fans to other NFL personalities.
So when Kiper says that Jonathan Allen should go to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft (mock draft version 3.0), the idea spreads – not that Allen in the top-five is a surprising notion. With his recent arthritis revelation, Allen’s stock is starting to take some hits and wane. Even the John Oehser at jaguars.com opted for running back Leonard Fournette over Jonathan Allen.
But the arthritis concern is muddling the issue entirely. The fact of the matter is that Allen is probably the best available player in the 2017 NFL Draft behind Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. This should instantly make Allen the easy answer for the Jaguars if he is available at fourth overall.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco recognizes this and makes it the foundation for a recent piece in which he describes Allen being available at fourth overall as the “perfect scenario” for the Jaguars. DiRocco compares Allen falling to the Jaguars as the same thing that happened when cornerback Jalen Ramsey fell to fifth overall in 2016.
There’s no doubt that Allen being available would make this a perfect scenario, and his ability makes it an easy selection. Yet that may not be exactly what the Jaguars need. It would be a defensible move, but it may not be the right move.
With the addition of Calais Campbell in free agency, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive line is already fearsome. The biggest improvement could come from an edge rusher, in which case an argument could be made for Solomon Thomas in the draft, not Allen.
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Similarly, the Jags desperately need help at running back, prompting calls for Leonard Fournette at fourth overall. The addition of a top-tier tight end like O.J. Howard would also go a long way in sparking the offense.
While Allen may be an easy choice based on best available player, he may not be the right choice for the Jaguars, making the selection even more difficult. There will be options for the Jags at fourth overall, but executive vice president Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell will have to sift through the talent to find the right fit for the team.
Sometimes, that selection isn’t so easy.