Josh Allen adds a versatile role to the Jaguars defense, in an interview with Pro Football Focus he said he watches and tries to mirror NFL players like Pro Bowler Von Miller and the breakout force, Khalil Mack; who also happen to be the most athletic defensive ends in the game.
I’ve had to go back to high school to figure out how he has become such an athletic defensive end. In his early high school days before switching to defense, Josh Allen was an all-state wide receiver with 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns his Junior Year.
Here he is in HS making a reception as a WR against triple coverage pic.twitter.com/UgzNijsGaJ— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Therefore, when he made his transition to defense, his size made him hard to stop when rushing off the edge but more importantly his athleticism helps when dropping back to open space, he has great pursuit to the ball when in zone and it was a big reason why with Kentucky he dropped back into coverage on 141 snaps in 2018, allowed only 130 yards on 19 targets and not allowing a single touchdown. These numbers make him a great fit for the Jaguars defense because in recent years the Jaguars have been bottom 5 in the league for allowing big plays. In the AFC championship the defense allowed over 150 yards to be gained from short distance passes (within 15 yds of the line of scrimmage).
In the draft this year, the Jaguars had no choice but to pick the number one guy on the board who not only is very good in coverage but coming off the edge he had 5 forced fumbles and 31.5 career sacks. So far in mini-camp, Todd Wash has no confusion about where Josh Allen will play in the upcoming season; even with Telvin Smith taking the year off. He will be a 3rd down run stopper coming off the edge on the opposite side of Ngakoue.
Many aspects of Josh Allen’s game make him a great player. One of them and the reason why they drafted him was his ability to get after the Quarterback and be a force to stopping an offense.
Against Mississippi State, Kentucky was up 14-7 and entering the 4th Quarter the KU defense was on their heels. On 1st and 10 to stop the momentum of the game Josh Allen comes off the edge to sack the quarterback; 2nd down once again Josh Allen applies pressure to the left guard forcing a defensive hold to change the momentum of the entire game.
Against Mississippi State, KU was up by a touchdown in the 4th qu but their defense was on their heels. Josh Allen takes over by making back to back plays and preventing any momentum from the Miss offense. pic.twitter.com/IxYJU0KIDn— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Causing disruption was something his game fed off especially early in games. In the first 3 mins in the first quarter against Vanderbilt Josh Allen was able to use his speed and hands to breeze right by the right guard to sack the quarterback for 8-yard loss.
in 2018 Josh Allen had 5 FF, 51 total pressures, 14 sacks, 9 QB hits and 28 hurries. He dropped into coverage on 141 snaps and allowed just 130 yards on 19 targets w/out allowing a single TD. With Ngakoue and Campbell in front of him his rips and bull rush will improve@KlipDraw pic.twitter.com/HOVGBjhtfj— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 26, 2019
In this same game but in the 3rd quarter, the defense line makes an important shift (which we see a lot throughout the season). What this does is it isolates the offensive tackle with Josh Allen so he can take him 1-on-1 and get penetration into the backfield. The tight end gives him a little bump before taking off into his route and the running back must step up and help prevent Josh Allen from getting to his quarterback. Despite the completion, this is the type of disruption you want to see from your edge rusher even when he rushes inside.
I love this play where the DT shifted to the inside isolating their LT with Josh Allen. Hes bumped by the TE, picked up by the LT and the RB and still almost gets to the QB Ngakoue on one side and him on the other Edited with @KlipDraw pic.twitter.com/O3ikUAs7ab— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) May 25, 2019
Josh Allen’s versatility with his hands were said to be a concern when entering the 2018 NFL draft. An edge rushers ability to rip, swim and bull rush an offensive lineman is what separates them from just another defensive lineman. In the next few clips he uses different moves to get to the QB and below he uses the swim move to bend the edge and get to the quarterback.
Josh Allen bending the edge forcing a high throw pic.twitter.com/sScRwP7B4I— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
In the next video we see several moves from Josh Allen where he gets penetration into the backfield using a rip and taking advantage of the inside leverage.
Another "con" was that Josh Allen can only rush to the outside. He hits the LT with a pump fake rip move but does rip through and gets to the qb milliseconds after he throws it.— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) May 25, 2019
He took advantage of the inside leverage and that's what you want to see in a rookie edge rusher pic.twitter.com/tJ2J5fCng3
In clip #2 the RG makes a huge mistake by double teaming Kentucky’s inside guy instead of getting Josh Allen who ends up coming free to get his 1st out of 3 sacks against Penn State.
We have all seen Josh Allen go to the outside with no success but his capability to keep separation was key in this next clip.
..follow up on the prior post. When coming out of the draft some reports of Josh Allen's was that he doesnt have good hands. This may be true when when rushing from from the weak side but when staying home & reading the play, he understands how important separation is @KlipDraw pic.twitter.com/wxYR6p4fX9— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) May 25, 2019
Keeping separation in order to keep his eye on the backfield and make a move at any point is something you look for in your rookie defensive end. In the second clip even against a double team he keeps his feet underneath him and bulrushes towards the quarterback.
We all know there are multiple sides to a defensive end and an important factor is being able to stop the run as well. The Jaguars defensive line took a big hit when they lost Malik Jackson to the Philadelphia Eagles and from what I saw in his tape, getting through the OL against the run was something had a hard time doing against an offensive lineman compared to a tight end. I saw a lot of times where he couldn’t disengage against the strong side OL and against the pure blocking tight ends.
He does have a hard time disengaging from big T's or TE's when defending the run, he will have to extend his arms a bit more and keep one arm free but he did his job here which was to force the runner inside for his LBs to pick him up. #DUVAL #NFLDraft19 #FilmwithFitz @KlipDraw pic.twitter.com/DkwoSOgpyP— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 27, 2019
Against the Florida Gators there were multiple times where the opposite side guard pulled to pick up Allen coming in to stop the run. Sometimes they were able to ride him outside and used his own moves against him; other times he tried taking the B gap without any outside linebacker help allowing a huge rushing gain.
There were some times he took the inside B gap to stop the RB in the backfield but without a LB on the outside helping, the RB will most likely convert. pic.twitter.com/5sYCtYOo6k— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Against the run there were times it was tougher for him to disengage against a OL opposed from a TE. Here it looks like a hold but still is unable to get free from his grip and the RB gains 8 on 1st and 10 pic.twitter.com/IxVDMTfWyT— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Is this a cause for concern for the Jaguars? Probably not. With veteran guys like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and with Smoot and Taven Ryan to learn from, there will be room to grow.
One thing that Josh Allen can do that will add versatility to the line is drop back in coverage to defend the deep ball, and that my friend is the most exciting attributes about this player.
At Kentucky, they ran a 3-4 defense which required Josh Allen to go in deep coverage against a receiving TE when they lined up 3 WRs. Against Texas A&M their TE runs a deep corner route and even with safety help over the top Josh Allen stays with the receiver and makes an amazing play to prevent the conversion.
Josh Allen is a huge improvement for the Jaguars when needing someone to drop back in coverage. He has a 4.6-4.7 40 yard dash time and hes 6'5" 260lbs! Great for when Harrison blitz and they need someone to keep an eye on that TE. He will definitely be the most versatile DLman pic.twitter.com/dcVyq2Ffr9— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 26, 2019
These are the plays that get Jaguar fans excited for the future of this defense.
Even in coverage in short distances, Josh Allen has a perfect drop step, using his hips to open up putting his body in the perfect position to make the quickest play to the ball and prevent any slant or even a 5 yd in-route.
Josh Allen shows his ability to break up the pass in many forms. Defending the curl route and even knocking the ball loose after a catch has already been made
Josh Allen vs the curl route pic.twitter.com/Aoj4wcvmaj— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Josh Allen in coverage knocking the ball loose like a CB pic.twitter.com/ktKVvc1SRx— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
We’ve watched Josh Allen in an outside and inside pass rush, defend the run, shed multiple blockers and drop back in coverage.
One thing I noticed in Josh Allen and to cover the last bit of his game, was his understanding of the game and being able to identify the screen and more importantly staying home when it matters most.
Against Penn State there were a good amount of run option plays to take Josh Allen away from the game. Penn State has a very good offensive line and on 3rd & 1, they had 2 OL pulls to help the QB ride out the Option play until the last second. Josh Allen in a 3-4 defense protects the outside, and on these plays, even though Penn State came away with a first down Josh Allen did his job and that is all you can ask for.
In this clip, it shows the position he will be in with the Jaguars 4-3 defense. This play the LBs ideally will be there to stop the play. Josh Allen does his job here pic.twitter.com/GAi7zKfj40— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) June 16, 2019
Since we are looking at Josh Allen staying home, once again against the Florida Gators his job is to force the ball carrier inside and prevent the play from stretching to the sideline. Of course, we would love to see him make the play, but in the NFL as long as you do your job on the outside (ideally) the inside linebackers here will be in the gap to make the tackle.
Once again getting penetration in the backfield but TE does a great job just riding him right out of the play, replacing the OT. This looks like an RPO but could have just been a decoy for a designed run, nonetheless I like to see Josh Allen getting into the backfield @KlipDraw pic.twitter.com/9PtotcpPjZ— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) May 25, 2019
Overall, I think Josh Allen is going to make a terrific defensive lineman and even though he has a lot of work to do to become a starter in the NFL, he has the attributes to be a play maker for the Jaguars defense.