The New York Jets may come down to a decision between Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Kentucky’s Josh Allen come this April’s NFL Draft.
The New York Jets may be at the mercy of the two picks before them come the 2019 NFL Draft, but their ultimate draft-day decision could come down to a choice between two premier prospects.
Both Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen have been consistently connected with the Jets over the past few months. With just over a month remaining before the draft begins, the debate over who is a better fit for the team will likely only continue to intensify.
While there’s no guarantee that both will be on the board when the Jets pick at No. 3 overall, all signs currently point to the Jets having their pick between the two consensus top-5 players in the draft. And if that’s the case, the team will have quite the decision to make come draft day.
There are two schools of thought on the issue.
Some see the premier talent that is Williams and think that the Jets would be ludicrous to pass on him. Although he may not play at a direct position of need, the Alabama product would still be able to help the team’s pass rush, just from the interior instead.
Others see a premier edge rusher option in Allen and feel that the Jets couldn’t possibly pass up on a top-level prospect at a major position of need. It’s become cliché at this point, but the Jets have lacked a true outstanding edge rusher presence since the days of John Abraham nearly 15 years ago.
Both ideologies are understandable, and neither is inherently wrong. Personally, however, one of the two picks does make a bit more sense.
There are two elite prospects in this year’s class, that being Nick Bosa and the aforementioned Quinnen Williams. Every other player, Josh Allen included, is at least a step below as overall prospects, at least according to this writer.
For those who might compare Williams with the Jets own Leonard Williams, just be aware that the Alabama product is a much better overall prospect and true pass rusher than Leonard Williams ever was at USC. It’s unfair to compare the two, especially when using it as an argument to not draft the former.
All of that said, if given the choice between Williams and Allen, Allen should be the pick.
This isn’t because Allen is the better prospect or as safe of a pick, but rather for a myriad of other reasons. Although he may be a step below Williams as an all-around prospect, Allen is undoubtedly still a consensus top-5 player in this draft class.
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The Kentucky product is perhaps the best true pass rusher in this year’s class and he offers the positional versatility that could make him very valuable in a Gregg Williams-run defense. Allen has the athleticism to effectively rush the passer as much as he can drop back into coverage.
If you’re looking for a pro comparison, look no further than recent Jets reject Anthony Barr. Although unlike Barr, expect Allen to be kept at his natural edge rusher position once he turns pro. Given his athleticism and coverage ability, Allen projects as a day one starter at a weak-side outside linebacker position for the Jets or any 3-4 team that selects him.
He’s a step below in overall NFL readiness, but possesses just as high of a ceiling.
While Williams would hardly be a poor draft pick, the selection of Allen simply holds more value to the Jets at this stage. The 21-year-old defensive lineman is going to be a great player in this league.
Although it’s hard to make a definitive statement like that about any prospect, if anyone deserves it it’s Quinnen Williams. But Josh Allen is a top-tier prospect at a major position of need who should be valued as a top-5 pick.
This isn’t a question of overall talent or potential. Rather it is a matter of organizational fit and expected impact.
And by those standards, Allen barely edges out Williams when it comes to the New York Jets.