Over the next month, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down some of the best players in this year’s NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.
Name: Jonathan Allen
Position/College: DL, Alabama
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 283 pounds
What makes him a first-round pick?
For the past two seasons, Allen has been arguably the best player on the nation’s best defense.
Allen, a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, leaves Tuscaloosa with 152 tackles, 44.5 tackles for loss and 28 sacks. Those numbers in and of themselves are impressive, but it’s also remarkable to watch an interior lineman amass that kind of production.
As such, it’s easy to see why Allen is widely viewed as the best interior defensive lineman in this year’s class and one of the best overall prospects. What might make him more special, though, is his leadership qualities both on and off the field.
"Jonathan Allen is a fantastic player for us, and even a better person and leader," Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN.com’s Alex Scarborough in November. "Sometimes a lot of players lose sight of how football is a developmental game, how they improve, how they can improve their value by continuing to grow and develop as players in college. Jonathan Allen is a great example of that."
Allen finished his career with a monster senior season, earning the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year had 69 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and led the team with 10.5 sacks. Against Washington in the college football playoff semifinals, Allen had six tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
How did he do at the combine?
Allen, who entered the combine with concerns over reportedly arthritic shoulders, probably didn’t do himself any favors after posting 21 reps on the bench press. That said, it’s still hard to dismiss Allen’s production in college and he shrugged off any worries during his podium session with reporters. “It’s not really a problem now, but it might be a problem 15, 20 years down the road so I’m not worried about that right now,” he said. “I’m worried about playing good for whichever team I go to.”
“I always believe for a team to be good they have to have a winning atmosphere, winning attitude in the locker room. So that’s going to be the first thing that I try to instill, just through my work ethic, preparation, my dedication to being excellent. So that’s what I’m going to try to focus on, just go in there with veteran guys who have been there, try to soak up as much as I can and do anything to help the team out.”
Why he would make sense for the Browns
Allen could immediately help a relatively thin interior defensive line that includes former first-round pick
Reasons why he won’t be available at No. 12?
Even with the shoulder concerns, Allen is still widely considered to be the best interior defensive lineman in this year’s draft and perhaps one of the top 10 best players overall. It’s unlikely he’ll be there when Cleveland picks at 12.