Cleveland Browns bowl watch: Alabama’s Jonathan Allen

The Cleveland Browns will look to continue their rebuilding efforts during the 2017 NFL Draft. Could Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen be on the team’s radar?

There is only one week remaining in the 2016 NFL regular season and the Cleveland Browns still do not know their final draft position.

This much we do know: the Browns are guaranteed to pick no worse than No. 2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft and they hold a second first-round pick courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Where those picks fall will not be determined until after the final week of the season. If the Browns lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, or win and then hope the San Francisco 49ers upset the Seattle Seahawks, then the Browns will lead off the draft with the first overall selection.

As for the second pick in the first round, the Browns would currently pick at No. 10. But to hold onto that spot they need the Eagles to lose their final game to the Dallas Cowboys, who have already clinched home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

Since draft talk is always welcome in Cleveland, and bowl season is in full swing, this is a great time to get one last look at some draft prospects at positions of need for the Browns in game action.

The Browns have the makings of something special on along the defensive front seven with Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Kirksey and, if they can resign him, Jamie Collins.

The Browns could continue to build on that foundation in a major way if they select Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen.

The 6-foot-3 and 265-pound Allen is the recipient of the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Hendricks Award after posting 56 tackles, including 13 for loss and 8.5 sacks while anchoring college football’s best defense. He also returned to fumbles for touchdowns, which is always fun.

According to Walter Football:

In the pass rush, Allen is tremendous. He is a fast defender at the point of attack with the ability to fire his gap. He uses his strength to shed blocks and can close in an instant on the quarterback. Allen has the burst to fire by guards into the backfield and the power to bull rush through linemen. He also has natural strength to manhandle offensive linemen and toss them to the side. Allen will then punish quarterbacks and put them into the turf.

The senior has displayed excellent versatility during college in terms of rush production from a variety of positions and techniques. He was dangerous as an end or tackle. Allen is very consistent at putting heat on the quarterback.

Allen is very tough as a run defender, too. He fills his gap and is very hard to move at the line of scrimmage. Allen eats up his block and prevents holes from opening up. Regularly, you will see him shed his block to stuff a run near the line of scrimmage or fire into the backfield to disrupt a run off the snap. Allen is a well-balanced defender who is effective at limiting both the rushing offense and passing attack.

Allen also received high praise from Pro Football Focus:

Perhaps the best overall player in the nation, Allen went from part-time contributor to dominant force in his first year as a full-time player. He leads all interior defensive linemen with 60 QB pressures, as he has dominated guards on the interior, while also having success moving around the defensive line. Coming into the year, there were some questions about Allen’s ability as an every-down run defender, but he performed just fine in that area, grading at 86.4 to go with his 92.8 pass-rush grade that led all interior defensive linemen. Allen should be a top-five pick in the draft, as he’s capable of contributing in multiple roles in any scheme.

A player who “manhandles offensive linemen and punishes quarterbacks?” One who can contribute in “any scheme?” Sure sounds like someone the Browns would be interested in seeing line up on the defensive line with Ogbah and Shelton for the next decade.

Allen also overcame a very troubled childhood to be a leader on the Crimson Tide defense, which is a trait that is highly prized by head coach Hue Jackson and the Browns front office.

Alabama will be in action on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. when they take on Washington in the Peach Bowl.

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