The fact that NFL draft analysts are almost universally praising Washington’s pick of Jonathan Allen midway through the first round Thursday night doesn’t mean Allen will be a success. But on a Friday in April, almost universal praise is probably better than the alternative.
There might not be anyone more enthusiastic than Charley Casserly, who spent several hours with the hometown kid while preparing NFL draft preview content for CSN Mid-Atlantic. Casserly has now said in multiple places that Allen was a steal, someone with top-five talent and a work ethic to match who fell to Washington only because of his multiple shoulder surgeries.
“This guy’s a heck of a player,” Casserly said on the Junkies Friday morning. “This guy’s better than Solomon Thomas, who went [No. 3], okay? And I’m not saying it because the Redskins took him; I said it all spring. He’s a better player coming out of college than [former second overall pick] Ndamukong Suh was, all right? Suh was a Saturday night highlight guy; he wasn’t consistent. This guy’s consistent. Good hand use, quick, plays the run well, rushes the passer well inside. Gerald McCoy, who was better than Suh coming out, is more explosive than this guy. I mean, this guy is a legitimately top five player as a football player, when he plays. And he played, okay?
“What I got out of him on that special — and I don’t know how much you can pick up, because, obviously, I had him for a couple hours and [the show was only a] half-hour special, but his intelligence and study of the game is phenomenal for a rookie. He’s gonna be well ahead of everybody.”
Casserly said he thinks Allen will play defensive end in the 3-4, and also line up inside as a defensive tackle and rusher on third downs. He said teams he talked to predicted Allen would have a short-term career because of his injury history. But he said the shoulder concerns should be offset both by the fact that his initial contract won’t last more than five years, and by the decreased hitting in modern practices.
“The wear and tear is not what it used to be,” Casserly said. “So I can see why he slipped, and I can see why they took him. I would have taken him with the same medical report.”
Meanwhile, if you were looking for a dissenting and pessimistic view, good luck.
“Excellent value,” wrote NFL.com’s analyst, giving the pick an A.
“The steal of the draft,” wrote USA Today’s analyst, giving the pick an A+.
“An obvious selection,” wrote SI’s analyst, giving the pick an A.
“A top-five talent who fell,” wrote CBS’s analyst, giving the pick an A.
“An insane steal,” wrote Walter Football’s analyst, giving the pick an A+.
“Strong value here,” wrote Bleacher Report’s analyst, giving the pick a B+.
“Could be a very good selection,” wrote our Mark Maske, giving the pick a B+.
“The best true interior talent in the draft,” wrote Yahoo’s analyst, who gave the pick an A.
Average all those together, and you get … I dunno. Call it possibly the best-regarded day of the team’s adventurous offseason.