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Allen’s versatility makes him ‘easy pick’ for Washington Redskins

Stone Bridge High School alum Jonathan Allen proudly displays his Washington Redskins jersey on draft night.—Photo Courtesy/Washington Redskins
Head coach Jay Gruden had no expectation that Jonathan Allen would still be on the board Thursday night when the Washington Redskins made the 17th overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

A combination of some teams having concern about Allen's shoulders and a run on offensive players led to the defensive stalwart sliding from a projected top-10 pick to the middle of the first round.

"Not in a million years did we think he would be there at 17, so we are happy as heck he was," Gruden said of the 6-foot-3, 286 pound lineman who played high school football at Stone Bridge - just five miles from Redskins Park in Ashburn.

"There wasn't a lot of debate. We put the card in and took a a heck of a football player and a great person," Gruden continued.

Allen, the consensus 2016 defensive player of the year as a senior at the University of Alabama, admitted it was "agonizing" to not go as early as projected in the draft, before adding "once you hear your name called, there is no other feeling like it."

"It's truly a blessing to be able to go back home and say I'm a part of the Washington Redskins," Allen said.

Gruden points to Allen's versatility as one of his top attributes. Allen recorded 69 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, 10.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries - returning two of those for touchdowns - during his senior season at Alabama. He is second on the Tide's career list with 28.5 sacks.

"We like his size, we like his strength, we like his ability to rush the passer and play the run. He can play all the positions on the defensive line.

"That versatility is hard to find this day and age with defensive lineman. Big body guys are normally just run stoppers, they are not able to rush the passer as effectively as he is. And that is a big need for us."

Gruden added that the Redskins do not have "any concerns" about Allen's medical record.

"We talked to [team physician] Dr. [James] Andrews and he gave us a thumbs up on him. We feel very good ... Jonathan had our highest grade. It was an easy pick for us."

Allen says it's now his job to prove he's worthy of being selected 17th overall.

"I'm very excited. I plan on coming in with my versatility and just earning the respect of the guys through work ethic ... build a bond with the guys and play together and grow together."


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