Alabama DL Jonathan Allen trying to add to his NFL resume
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Jonathan Allen’s NFL resume already includes awards, championship rings and four years of production at Alabama.
Now, the former Crimson Tide defensive lineman is preparing to add his 40 time, vertical jump and other measurables at the scouting combine this week in Indianapolis. Allen is projected as a Top-5 pick in the April draft after improving his stock by returning for his senior season while collecting four national awards.
The 22-year-old has plenty of ready resources for advice from former Alabama players like Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus but thinks four years with Nick Saban’s businesslike Crimson Tide program made for pretty good preparation even without that help.
“We’ve been preparing for this ever since we’ve been on campus,” said Allen, who played on three consecutive Southeastern Conference champions. “You just go out there and take care of business and be professional.”
For Allen, that has meant dutifully showing up for two-a-day workouts with coach Tom Shaw in Orlando in recent months. It has basically been an 8-5 job, at least, including morning weights, speed and positional work, meetings and combine prep.
“The one thing that I’ve found while he was here is that this kid is genuine, this kid is a hard worker,” Shaw said. “You can’t fake it for two months. We have a lot of kids that come in gung-ho and ready to work out, but after about four weeks it gets old to them because they’re not used to training all that time.
“You can’t fake it, but this kid he worked hard and never deviated, never missed either practice. I thought he did really well with how hard he worked and how dedicated he was.”
Allen is projected to be the first of several former Crimson Tide players who are considered potential first-round picks, including linebackers Reuben Foster and Tim Williams, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and offensive tackle Cam Robinson.
The 6-foot-3, 291-pound Allen, who arrived on campus as an outside linebacker, figures to be the second defensive lineman selected behind former Texas A&M end Myles Garrett. Garrett is widely projected as the No. 1 overall pick.
Allen won the Lombardi Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and the Ted Hendricks Award after opting against turning pro following is junior season. He also figures to be drafted higher and land a much bigger contract after returning. Plus, he got his college degree.
Allen said he’ll go through every drill at the combine except bench press, which he’ll perform at Alabama’s pro day next week.
Agent Blake Baratz figures Allen’s on-field resume and lack of question marks off it make him “a safe prospect” for NFL teams.
“Obviously what he did on the field speaks for itself,” said Baratz, whose defensive line clients include Alan Branch, William Gholston and Adrian Clayborn. “He’s a pretty clean prospect. There’s not a ton of questions about him. You’ve got 2,000 players to analyze over the course of a four-month period, and he’s probably as clean a prospect as you’ll come across.
“It might be boring, but if I was a (general manager) that’s exactly the kind of person I’d be starting the organization around.”
Allen thinks he could play either inside or outside — where he lined up most often at Alabama — depending on the defensive system. That includes taking on double teams he didn’t face as much at Alabama, when he was surrounded by other elite linemen like Dalvin Tomlinson and Da’Ron Payne — not to mention a linebacking corps with pass rushers like Williams and Ryan Anderson.
“He’s violent when he’s on the field,” Shaw said. “But when I knew he was a different breed was when he was telling me about Dalvin Tomlinson and he said, ‘I wouldn’t be who I am without my teammates.’ Dalvin took two guys on almost every play, and it allowed him to run around and chase people, which is huge. He didn’t have to give praise. That’s different. A lot of guys, it’s all about them, but this is a different kid.”
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