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What's the story with Jonathan Allen
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The LBC


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

G08 wrote:
dcarey20 wrote:
Every time I watched him play for Bama he stood out.

He doesn't jump off the page as a high athleticism type guy with a ton of potential, but I think he's just a really good football player.


That's where I am... he's 286 lbs so I'm not going to call him undersized at all. Especially for the Bears' defense, our GM likes our 5Ts around 280 lbs, give or take.

He doesn't have an elite burst or speed element to his game, but I see a ton of Gerald McCoy in how he plays. For me, he's a solid 5T that will improve our run defense in base downs, and he can play anywhere on the line in sub packages (although I'd prefer him at 3T or NT).

Is that a top 3-5 pick? I don't know... I'm on record saying I much prefer Thomas, but I'd "settle" for Allen.

How? Gerald McCoy had stellar burst and speed element to his game - particularly for someone of his size. It was the element of his game that made him arguable over Suh for first interior rusher off the board. There was also a viciousness with his hands that Allen plainly doesn't have. Allen's handwork is technically sound, but it's not what I'd call violent or jarring.

Genuinely, I don't see a lot of difference between Allen and Tyson Jackson - who yes, a Top 3 pick, but never actually translated to the league like one. That Heath Evans called him the "best interior pass-rushing prospect since 2011" still has me in stitches; then again, Evans is the same dolt that said he "didn't have a 1st round grade on Bosa." He's a "solid 1st rounder," but he just plain lacks the kind of upside to merit a Top 10 pick.

Honestly, he's closer to Cameron Heyward (Allen's hands aren't as violent and he's a shade lighter - mass-relative-to-frame is likely very similar - but both lacked standout burst and had issues with inconsistent/narrow base who had a bad habit of getting stalled out by single-blockers on the interior or just being content to sit-and-collect rather than attack) than he is to some of the comps that have been made in this thread (McCoy, Pryce) and Cameron Heyward is a fine football player, but there's a reason he was never seriously considered in the discussion as being Top 10 pick worthy.
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TheVillain112


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The LBC wrote:
Honestly, he's closer to Cameron Heyward (Allen's hands aren't as violent and he's a shade lighter - mass-relative-to-frame is likely very similar - but both lacked standout burst and had issues with inconsistent/narrow base who had a bad habit of getting stalled out by single-blockers on the interior or just being content to sit-and-collect rather than attack) than he is to some of the comps that have been made in this thread (McCoy, Pryce) and Cameron Heyward is a fine football player, but there's a reason he was never seriously considered in the discussion as being Top 10 pick worthy.


I was with you until here. If he's Cam Heyward, he's a top 10 pick. Hell in this draft he's a top 2 pick...
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheVillain112 wrote:
The LBC wrote:
Honestly, he's closer to Cameron Heyward (Allen's hands aren't as violent and he's a shade lighter - mass-relative-to-frame is likely very similar - but both lacked standout burst and had issues with inconsistent/narrow base who had a bad habit of getting stalled out by single-blockers on the interior or just being content to sit-and-collect rather than attack) than he is to some of the comps that have been made in this thread (McCoy, Pryce) and Cameron Heyward is a fine football player, but there's a reason he was never seriously considered in the discussion as being Top 10 pick worthy.


I was with you until here. If he's Cam Heyward, he's a top 10 pick. Hell in this draft he's a top 2 pick...

See... that's where we differ. I said he's closer to Cam Heyward than the guys he was being comp'd to (Gerald McCoy was a freak athlete for a legit 300-pounder and Trevor Pryce is likely to end up in the Almost-HOF category). And I'm comparing prospect Cam Heyward here, not current - developed after 2 years where he wasn't forced into significant action right off the bat Cam Heyward. I'm with Duffman, his closest true comp is Tyson Jackson in that he's built like a 1-gapping 5-Tech (minus ideal length) but he plays more like a 2-gapping 5-Tech with the ability to make some plays on backside runners in pursuit if he can disengage and sift through traffic quick enough. And the thing is... 2-gapping 5-Tech's just aren't valued that highly. LIS, they're 1st round worthy picks, but unless they've got McCoy-type burst and COD ability (and your team is going to use him like Belichick used Richard Seymour), they're not Top 10 worthy.
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HTTRG3Dynasty


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, this thread ended up being way more negative than I expected. Laughing

There are some legitimate concerns that were raised about his weaknesses though. To that point, I personally believe the combine was the biggest reason for Allen's slide to 17 rather than the shoulder issues. He was cleared by pretty much every team doctor, and this injury is the sort that is more likely to be a problem for him later in life - either after he is done playing or towards the end of his career.

In regards to the combine, I think posters are exaggerating a bit on how bad it was. Gerald McCoy was actually 295 pounds during the combine, not 300, so he was only 9 pounds heavier than Allen and they put up similar numbers. Sheldon Richardson was only 8 pounds heavier and they put up similar numbers. There are examples of top interior DL being able to win in the NFL without great combine measurables. KK short had a much worse pro day performance than any of the 3 mentioned above performed at their combines, albeit his was at 299 pounds. I bet GM's are regretting letting him slip to the 2nd round.

This is a situation where I think teams outsmarted themselves and reached on offensive prospects who shouldn't have been taken before Allen, and justified it with his sub-par combine numbers and/or the fact that the defensive talent was so deep in this draft. There were also a lot of teams that just didn't have a true need for interior DL. Still, I think teams will be kicking themselves for passing on him 3 years from now.
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tom cody wrote:
I think Allen has it in him to be a great player, hopefully he can keep his arthritis under control during his career.
An interior lineman with arthritic shoulders is a bad combination.
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canadian Saint wrote:
Can he play DE in a 4-3 or is he strictly an interior player in a 4-3?
He's a 3-technique in a 4-3.
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HTTRG3Dynasty wrote:
Damn, this thread ended up being way more negative than I expected. Laughing

There are some legitimate concerns that were raised about his weaknesses though. To that point, I personally believe the combine was the biggest reason for Allen's slide to 17 rather than the shoulder issues. He was cleared by pretty much every team doctor, and this injury is the sort that is more likely to be a problem for him later in life - either after he is done playing or towards the end of his career.

In regards to the combine, I think posters are exaggerating a bit on how bad it was. Gerald McCoy was actually 295 pounds during the combine, not 300, so he was only 9 pounds heavier than Allen and they put up similar numbers. Sheldon Richardson was only 8 pounds heavier and they put up similar numbers. There are examples of top interior DL being able to win in the NFL without great combine measurables. KK short had a much worse pro day performance than any of the 3 mentioned above performed at their combines, albeit his was at 299 pounds. I bet GM's are regretting letting him slip to the 2nd round.

This is a situation where I think teams outsmarted themselves and reached on offensive prospects who shouldn't have been taken before Allen, and justified it with his sub-par combine numbers and/or the fact that the defensive talent was so deep in this draft. There were also a lot of teams that just didn't have a true need for interior DL. Still, I think teams will be kicking themselves for passing on him 3 years from now.

You can personally believe whatever you want, but the combine doesn't typically have that drastic of an effect on guys unless it's rocketing specific position types (generally WR's and edge-rushers) up the board due to unexpectedly outstanding performances.

Fact is, the media and a lot of fans had Allen overrated when they were touting him as a Top 5 pick - it's not difficult to understand why, the media love them some Bama prospects (like they did LSU guys when Saban was there, like they did Stanford guys when Harbaugh was there, and like they do now with Michigan guys now that Harbs is there). The media's in the business of drawing views, not churning out in-depth critical analysis (because most layman fans genuinely get bored if you get overly complicated with that stuff). He was, as a collegian, the definition of a guy who flashed brightly on several occasions but didn't consistently pop when it came to his play.

Chalk that up to the injuries, to the weight and position fluctuation. Chalk it up to there being an abundance of talent surrounding him. But if a General Manager and his scouts are putting emphasis and strong faith in the tape, they had every reason to be underwhelmed to the tune of being apprehensive about spending a Top 10 pick on the guy.
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You just spouted your own personal belief and labeled it as "fact". C'mon man. Laughing

Also, not sure how you can watch Alabama game film and say he doesn't consistently pop. But to each his own.
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DraftHobbyist wrote:
Allen has a serious problem: He's undersized. If you want to take an undersized DL at the end of the 1st then okay, but taking one in the Top 5 is pretty risky. And I have a huge problem with his medical. Why would you take a guy who has arthritis in both shoulders in the Top 5 when you can get other great players? It's not like arthritis will develop at some point, he literally already has it. What you have an Allen is an undersized guy who is average athletically (7th at his position and in the 27 percentile in the NFL for SPARQ...27% meaning close to the bottom quarter) that has a long-term debilitating medical concern in both of his shoulders as a DL. To me, that is way too much risk for a Top 5 player. Even without the medical, I don't think he goes Top 5 tbh.


You hit it right on the head. Allen is UNDERSIZED and UNATHLETIC. That is a bad combination.

If Allen didn't play for Alabama he wouldn't have been drafted in the first 2 rounds.
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pendulum always swings too far in a new direction.
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HTTRG3Dynasty wrote:
You just spouted your own personal belief and labeled it as "fact". C'mon man. Laughing

Also, not sure how you can watch Alabama game film and say he doesn't consistently pop. But to each his own.

He has certain traits that pop - his technical handwork, bull-rush (at least as an edge-rusher), his push-pull move, and his counter off the bull rush are all very good. But what the tape also shows is that he's slow to disengage even when he does win with power and outside of flashing a couple times per game, he struggles gaining ground on offensive linemen. He lacks the quickness for any sort of finesse game (the kind of game you expect a guy being rated as a "Top 5 pick"/blue-chip prospect to have) and had a nasty habit against the best OL's he faced of getting stopped mid-move.

Go back and watch the SEC Championship, multiple times on clear passing-downs he lines up over the outside shoulder of LG Martez Ivey, tries to slap Ivey's hands down and rip through with his left and he gets absolutely stonewalled by Ivey. That kind of thing never happens to top-tier pass-rushers.... like ever. Go back and watch the game against Auburn last year - his stats (i.e. the TFL's) don't tell an accurate story of his performance: Getting a TFL when you're unblocked or when you're playing trash-collector after your teammate whiffs on a tackle are not traits that send you skyrocketing up draft boards. What the Auburn game illustrated very well is that he was consistently slow to win and when he was able to layer moves together, his pad-level negated any wins he would have had.

The biggest indictment though - and why I feel teams simply didn't have him rated as highly as the fans and media did - is that Allen consistently played to avoid contact. You aren't going to find a defensive line coach anywhere that teaches that; rather the mantra is "step to contact." Now go watch Allen on third downs... he doesn't step to contact, he fires straight upright out of his stance, wastes nearly a full second of the play each time - and that's a huge contributor to why he struggles to win quickly with any kind of consistency.

Now consider this, a majority of his snaps, Allen was lining up inside and failing to out-athlete guards. For the other highly-touted/"Top 15" DL in this draft who were asked to do that, none of them had such an issue (hell, out-athleting the guys to win when lined up on the interior was largely all Solomon Thomas could do consistently). But even the interior guys who were heavier than Allen like Malik McDowell and Caleb Brantley didn't have an issue winning with quickness and athleticism inside.

His effort and hand-placement are both outstanding. But those aren't traits that put you in the Top 15 especially as a pass-rusher unless you've already met certain athleticism thresholds which Allen failed to meet. He's a clear starter and a clear contributor, but so is Adrian Clayborn (who Allen effectively projects similarly to metrically) , but Top 5-10 picks get spent on guys (especially when spent on pass-rushers) who can project to be stars. That's not Allen. He was what he always was: A safe 1st round pick who belonged nowhere near the Top 10 due to athletic limitations that the tape clearly showed.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The LBC wrote:
HTTRG3Dynasty wrote:
You just spouted your own personal belief and labeled it as "fact". C'mon man. Laughing

Also, not sure how you can watch Alabama game film and say he doesn't consistently pop. But to each his own.

He has certain traits that pop - his technical handwork, bull-rush (at least as an edge-rusher), his push-pull move, and his counter off the bull rush are all very good. But what the tape also shows is that he's slow to disengage even when he does win with power and outside of flashing a couple times per game, he struggles gaining ground on offensive linemen. He lacks the quickness for any sort of finesse game (the kind of game you expect a guy being rated as a "Top 5 pick"/blue-chip prospect to have) and had a nasty habit against the best OL's he faced of getting stopped mid-move.

Go back and watch the SEC Championship, multiple times on clear passing-downs he lines up over the outside shoulder of LG Martez Ivey, tries to slap Ivey's hands down and rip through with his left and he gets absolutely stonewalled by Ivey. That kind of thing never happens to top-tier pass-rushers.... like ever. Go back and watch the game against Auburn last year - his stats (i.e. the TFL's) don't tell an accurate story of his performance: Getting a TFL when you're unblocked or when you're playing trash-collector after your teammate whiffs on a tackle are not traits that send you skyrocketing up draft boards. What the Auburn game illustrated very well is that he was consistently slow to win and when he was able to layer moves together, his pad-level negated any wins he would have had.

The biggest indictment though - and why I feel teams simply didn't have him rated as highly as the fans and media did - is that Allen consistently played to avoid contact. You aren't going to find a defensive line coach anywhere that teaches that; rather the mantra is "step to contact." Now go watch Allen on third downs... he doesn't step to contact, he fires straight upright out of his stance, wastes nearly a full second of the play each time - and that's a huge contributor to why he struggles to win quickly with any kind of consistency.

Now consider this, a majority of his snaps, Allen was lining up inside and failing to out-athlete guards. For the other highly-touted/"Top 15" DL in this draft who were asked to do that, none of them had such an issue (hell, out-athleting the guys to win when lined up on the interior was largely all Solomon Thomas could do consistently). But even the interior guys who were heavier than Allen like Malik McDowell and Caleb Brantley didn't have an issue winning with quickness and athleticism inside.

His effort and hand-placement are both outstanding. But those aren't traits that put you in the Top 15 especially as a pass-rusher unless you've already met certain athleticism thresholds which Allen failed to meet. He's a clear starter and a clear contributor, but so is Adrian Clayborn (who Allen effectively projects similarly to metrically) , but Top 5-10 picks get spent on guys (especially when spent on pass-rushers) who can project to be stars. That's not Allen. He was what he always was: A safe 1st round pick who belonged nowhere near the Top 10 due to athletic limitations that the tape clearly showed.


You're really exaggerating his faults here. He's not a great athlete, but he's good enough. You're right that Allen isn't primarily winning with quickness, but he has definitely proven he is capable of it, as shown here:

@2:03 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-mississippi-state-2015/

@2:04 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-michigan-state-2015/

@1:48 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-lsu-2015/

@6:01 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-tennessee-2016/

@6:30 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-texas-am-2016/

These are just a few plays that demonstrate his ability to penetrate the backfield with quickness off the line. Though it is admittedly rare that he does so, mostly because Alabama runs a 2-gap scheme. Saban wants his DL to play the run first. It's what helps keep Bama's LB's like Reuben Foster so clean to rack up all those highlight plays. What Allen is asked to do that guys like Malik McDowell aren't is to stay disciplined and keep his eyes on what's happening in the backfield at all times, reading the play to identify if it's a run or a pass, which slows his pass rush down compared to players like McDowell. If it's a run, he'll stay in his gap and look to shed the block when he figures out which hole the RB is preparing to hit. And if it's a pass, he'll often just toss his guy to the side with his patented push-pull move or look to disengage some other way. It's actually pretty funny, because it's clear that OL at times think they have him blocked, but once he identifies what the play call is, he just casually dismisses guys and goes to hunt for the ball. This, mixed with his instincts and awareness (which are top notch, and that matters), also makes it really hard for an offense to run a successful screen with Allen on the field. His sniffs them out at a high rate. Meanwhile, guys like McDowell are just looking to penetrate the backfield even if it's a run play that's not going toward them, or an obvious screen, and they often leave their teammates behind them out to dry as a result.

I did re-watch the Florida game you referred to above, and I'm not sure we were watching the same game. It was obvious that for the majority of plays Allen was lined up inside, he was being either chipped or double-teamed. It was clear that the Florida OL were focusing on stopping him at all costs. For good reason too, because when they didn't double him inside, he was winning his match-ups quite easily:

@4:22 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-florida-2016/

@6:18 - http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jonathan-allen-vs-florida-2016/


Allen led all interior linemen in college last year with 67 pressures. He pressured the QB on 14.5% of his pass rushing snaps. I'm not sure what more can be expected of him, especially as a 2 gapping DL. Even Aaron Donald in his amazing 2015 season only generated pressure on the QB on 15.8% of his pass rushing snaps. Obviously, it's the NFL vs. college, but hopefully you get the idea that anything around 15% is an extremely high rate whether in college or in the League.


Finally, I'm not sure why you insist on comparing Allen to guys like Adrian Clayborn (who Allen is clearly much more skilled than) when he actually profiles more similarly to guys like Sheldon Richardson, Malik Jackson, and Gerald McCoy from a combine testing and skills standpoint. Super athletic or not, I'll be pretty damn happy if he is anywhere close to those guys when it comes to his production in the NFL.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HTTRG3Dynasty wrote:
Finally, I'm not sure why you insist on comparing Allen to guys like Adrian Clayborn (who Allen is clearly much more skilled than) when he actually profiles more similarly to guys like Sheldon Richardson, Malik Jackson, and Gerald McCoy from a combine testing and skills standpoint. Super athletic or not, I'll be pretty damn happy if he is anywhere close to those guys when it comes to his production in the NFL.

I wasn't convinced of it until I got to this part, but you didn't actually read what I wrote, you've pretty clearly just skimmed it.

"Winning with quickness" isn't explosiveness off the line. Explosiveness is explosiveness. Quickness is ability to win in the finesse game, largely with lateral agility. Allen doesn't have a finesse game. And the athletic testing at the combine reinforced what was visible on the tape, that he lacks the athletic ability/agility to win in that aspect.

I said that he compared athletically to Clayborn, which he does. You can't just compared 40 times and jumps and say they're similar, you have to actually factor in when guys are doing while displacing more mass. which all the guys you listed did, save Jackson, who Allen simply doesn't win the same way he does (especially Jackson the prospect, who was winning - particularly when he was lined up inside - because Tennessee was stunting and scheming him to basically have an open gap and not have to worry about engaging and shedding).

These (Link 1 and Link 2) were what I was referring to. That's not a guy getting chipped or doubled, that's a guy coming straight up out of his stance, failing to win with his bull-rush, and not being able to do much of anything to affect the play because he's largely trying to avoid contact.

There's not a thing on the Mississippi State tape that disproves any contention I've made - it even shows an example of the push-pull move I complemented him on. He's not "winning with quickness and agility" on that tape. 2:03 wasn't winning with quickness, he shot the gap on a straight line vector and the lineman didn't get his hands on him.

The Michigan State play you cited, that's a bull rush. That's not a "quickness" play. You'd have at least have had a better argument with the sack he had earlier in the game, which was still a bull-rush (against the weakest component of that Sparty OL that year), but at least he won to a degree with hand-fighting (there wasn't any kind of setting up the guy with a jab to get him to commit and then beating him with speed though, it was just straight power). The LSU play you cited is the exact same thing... bull rush on an overload up the middle (how exactly is that supposed to demonstrate winning with quickness?). And moreover that LSU tape only further illustrates my point, one splash play in a sea of getting neutralized by single-blocks consistently otherwise.

The Tennessee play? Another bull rush. That Tennessee tape also illustrates his lack of finesse game to a "T." For a guy who has the clean hand-placement and technique that he has (it's a staple of Alabama DL), he makes no attempt to set his man up. He's not even really two-gapping on a lot of that tape... he's trying to shoot a gap. He left multiple plays on the field against Tennessee from what I can see because he just tried to storm in, rather than layering his moves. It's all blunt force and no subtlety - and that kind of stuff isn't going to fly at the next level. I'm not sure I saw Allen make one assessment of how the OL sets him and adjustment to counter in that entire cutaway. His best "quickness" play is at 8:32 and even that was a case of his poor pad-level preventing him from actually getting home before Dobbs gets the ball off.

And the A&M game... people always seem to conveniently ignore that he was playing against a true freshman OL. Outside of Gennessy and Eluemunor that Aggie OL was green as all get-out. And on a couple of those plays, Allen's lack of finesse game and willingness to overpursuit resulting therefrom actually costs Bama to put A&M in position for Knight's first TD throw. On Knight's second TD throw. And what exactly am I supposed to be seeing on the play at 6:30? Another instance of shooting a gap on a bull rush? Ripping the ball out of Knight's hand is impressive, but that wasn't a play where he won (against his blocker) with quickness. It's a nice play; it's not a quickness play.

Just going to have to agree to disagree. The athleticism that Allen does possess just doesn't translate well to the next level. He certainly could potentially be taught a finesse game, but he lacks the elite athletic upside (while lacking that technical/mental element to his game presently) to merit Top 5 selection.

Also, you probably ought to go back and look at the tape you linked to and where Allen lines up, then go review your second to last paragraph. Bama moved him all over - and you were linking to some 2015 tape too when he was playing the majority of his downs on the edge. You're seeing what you want to see - that's your prerogative, we're all guilty of it with players on our teams. But you're misrepresenting how much Allen lined up as an interior lineman (even Bama's depth chart lists him in their base as an end) and how much his assignment on a given play was to two-gap.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The LBC wrote:
Just going to have to agree to disagree. The athleticism that Allen does possess just doesn't translate well to the next level.


I was getting ready to type out a long response to this, but there's just no point. It's like we're watching two completely different players. Like I said, Allen is no great athlete by any means, but he has shown on film an ability to shoot gaps with quickness when he isn't primarily focused on two-gapping. I think his game (athleticism and all) will translate very well to the next level, and teams will regret passing on him. We don't have to wait long to see who was right.

By the way, the whole DL is two-gapping in the Bama scheme, not just the guys on the inside. They are one of the last programs in college football that ask their whole DL to two-gap. I was focusing on plays where he lines up on the inside in my response because that's where he will be playing in the Redskins front and that seemed to be your focus as well (i.e. not being able to "out-athlete" guards). Focusing on a few plays where he was "stone-walled" proves nothing. It happens to a lot of great players, which is why even the best DL in the league only have a pressure rate hovering around 15%.
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