Josh Allen (LB/DE – Kentucky)
If one Josh Allen is good, two Josh Allen’s are even better!
After a promising 2017 junior season, Allen returned to Kentucky and took his draft stock from a day two prospect all the way up to the top 10. As a senior, Allen recorded 88 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and an astounding 17 sacks. He also added five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 13 games played.
Powerful, fast, and angry, Allen possesses many of the traits you want in a pass-rusher. He stands at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and can put his hand in the dirt or rush from the outside with speed and power.
As a freshman, Allen played in just three games but went on to start 26 games over the next two seasons with nearly identical numbers. He put together a season of 62 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a sophomore while tallying 66 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a junior. His growth shows his determination but also that he is continuing to improve.
Getting Allen at No. 9 would be a huge steal for Buffalo as they now lack a truly game-changing presence off the edge. Jerry Hughes is going into the final year of his deal and while he has been productive, he needs a running-mate if the team is to keep him.
Shaq Lawson had a promising season, but he has not been the top-tier pass-rusher the team had hoped after selecting him the first round. As for free agent acquisition Trent Murphy, he had a difficult time staying healthy in his first season with Buffalo.
When I think of Allen I think of a player with a similar career trajectory as Khalil Mack. Mack had an outstanding career at the University at Buffalo and skyrocketed to the top of the draft in his senior season. When at UB, Mack came in at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds for his senior season, two inches and 12 pounds off of where Allen is currently.
With his experience standing up or putting his hand in the ground, Allen provides flexibility for a young defense and creative defensive minds like Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier. He could be a dominant force on the outside for the Bills for the next decade as his blend of size, speed, power and athleticism would fit nicely with the young linebacking and secondary groups.