Making the case for the New York Jets to draft Josh Allen
By Chris Stephano
With a little bit of luck, the New York Jets will have an opportunity to address one of their most glaring needs in the 2019 NFL Draft with the selection of edge rusher Josh Allen.
The one thing fans of bad NFL teams can take solace in is the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. This is especially true for New York Jets fans.
The NFL Draft often feels like their Super Bowl. This year will be no different, as the Jets currently hold the third overall pick in the upcoming draft after finishing the season with a lowly 4-12 record.
Fortunately for the Jets and their fans, the team should finally be able to address one of its most persistent weaknesses.
The Jets have struggled to generate a consistent pass rush for the past decade. They are somehow still looking for John Abraham‘s replacement after all these years.
Ever since Abraham was traded away back in 2006, the Jets have only had two seasons where a player has accrued double-digit sacks (2013, 2015). And Muhammad Wilkerson, who led the Jets in sacks during both of those seasons, is no longer on the team. Wilkerson, a former first-round pick, had a few good seasons but ultimately lacked the work ethic and consistency to be successful.
The Jets will now get a chance at a do-over. The 2019 NFL Draft class is laden with talented defensive linemen, presenting the team with a unique opportunity to address its pass-rushing deficiency.
There are three consensus top defensive linemen/pass rushers in the draft: Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, and Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen.
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Bosa is widely considered to be the best player in the country and almost certainly won’t fall to the Jets at No. 3. Williams is immensely talented, but the Jets already have a top-tier interior rusher in Leonard Williams.
Allen, however, would be a perfect fit for the Jets and may be available with the third overall pick. The Kentucky product was a terror last season, amassing 17 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in only 13 games. He managed to accomplish all this while playing in the competitive SEC, widely regarded as the toughest conference in all of college football.
In addition to putting up impressive numbers, Allen has shown the character, resilience, and other intangibles necessary to succeed in the NFL. Throughout his entire life, Allen has been an underdog. He struggled with a stutter and ADHD as a child and was the small and frequently bullied kid on his high school football team. Upon his graduation from high school, only two colleges thought enough of Allen to even offer him a scholarship.
Allen persisted, choosing to commit to Kentucky. He was a good player, getting to the quarterback seven times each in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Determined to take his game to another level, Allen decided to forego the draft and worked relentlessly leading up to his senior season at Kentucky. The results were readily evident.
Kevin White, one of Allen’s coaches at Kentucky, describes the change this way, “He’s always been a good pass rusher and could always win with speed, [but] now he can win with the added weight and strength.”
In addition to his natural talent, Allen’s continued commitment to improving his game will make him an asset for any NFL team. And the chip Allen continually carries on his shoulder should resonate with the often maligned Jets and their fan base.
No prospect is a sure thing, but Allen by all accounts has the track record, skill set, and intangibles to help a beleaguered Jets front seven. Hopefully, the Jets have an opportunity to draft him.