Josh Allen, EDGE prospect from Kentucky, may have the highest upside of any pass rusher that is not named Nick Bosa in this upcoming 2019 NFL Draft
Josh Allen is an edge prospect that has been receiving a ton of top-10 hype in the draft and dynasty community. Rightly so. His sack numbers are off the charts. His athleticism looks like it could be elite. He has all of the tools and versatility to be a top ten pick in the NFL Draft.
The first thing you notice about Allen is his first step and his burst off the edge.
His bend around the corner and ability to stay tight in his arc is not elite. However, it is above average and something that he has shown improvement since his tape last year. He is still a fairly raw prospect, so seeing improvement is a vital part of his evaluation. It seems he is still making strides and is continually improving his game. This is a huge plus.
Allen has about average hand-fighting and outside pass rush moves. He tends to win more with his burst and athleticism than his technical skills. He has shown signs of life in this area. Once again, Allen shows that he has the commitment to improvement. He needs to develop these skills to consistently win at the next level. He will not be able to win with athleticism alone when he faces elite competition in the NFL.
Allen’s biggest weakness is his complete and utter lack of an inside counter. He has so much burst around the corner, that an inside counter could be absolutely lethal, but he just does not have one and has not shown any signs of developing one. Allen needs to pick up a spin move or something that can keep NFL tackles honest against his outside pass rush. He has had issues with tackles that cheat outside and just wash him around the corner to take him out of the play. An inside counter would solve all of this.
One of Josh Allen’s best traits is his ability to drop back into coverage and run with both wide receivers and tight ends. He doesn’t appear to have elite long speed, it may not even be good long speed, but he seems to have a stickiness in tight coverage to run with the bigger offensive players. He sometimes gets out of position in zone coverage, but he has a general understanding and does well when he decides to close or run with a pass catcher.
Against the run, Allen is a mixed bag. He shows the ability to hold the point of attack sometimes. He has the capability to make form tackles in open space when he wants to. However, Allen does not demonstrate run-stopping prowess on a regular basis. He does not always show a good understanding of depth when he goes to set the edge. He can also sometimes overrun the play.
Most concerning about Allen in the run game is that he simply does not seem interested. Whether tackling or pursuit, Allen does not play with the same fire as when he is rushing the quarterback. You see Allen often go for the “shove down” tackle rather than getting his hands dirty and driving through a player.
If the run is away from his side of the field, Allen often goes into a jog rather than chasing to the sideline. It looks like he is just jogging to the ball to give the illusion of effort sometimes.
All in all, I am not expecting Allen to be a serious contributor against the run. I think that his bread and butter is going to be rushing the passer. He also has the bonus ability to drop back into coverage. Stopping the run may not be his thing.
Finally, as a “wild-card” trait, Josh Allen has an uncanny ability to get the ball when cornering the edge. He always has his eyes on the ball. Allen does a tremendous job of knocking it out of the quarterback’s hand when he holds it away from his body. It is something that you can clearly tell he puts a good deal of focus into, and it pays off.
IDP Fantasy Implications
A lot of this has to do with where Allen ultimately is drafted. If he is drafted in the top-10, then teams are showing an obvious commitment to his talent. If he is drafted outside the first round (something that seems extremely unlikely at this point), then a team may see him as more of a project. Right now, he looks closer to the latter.
Allen’s NFL production is likely going to be almost entirely based on his pass rushing ability. This is going to give you boom or bust potential on a week-to-week basis. Also, rookies generally are not the best producers of sacks. In a dynasty league, his sack potential is tremendous in a year or two.
In leagues that reward for pass deflections, his ability to drop into coverage is certainly enticing. So is his knack for forcing fumbles when he gets to the quarterback.
A lot of where Allen succeeds results in splash production. Many players would rather have steady production in IDP. Allen has several categories that he can splash in. It seems that Allen is going to be a top fantasy IDP candidate heading into dynasty drafts in this upcoming season.