So much is being talked about already this offseason when it comes to the Carolina Panthers and their first round selection, the eighth pick overall. Inevitably, when a Panthers draft discussion erupts, a joke is made about GM Dave Gettleman selecting another defensive tackle this year. Gettleman has quite a collection of young talent at the position, and it has become a tongue in cheek response to any draft proclamation.
But believe it or not, it could very well happen.
Before you tweet me a nasty comment, hear me out. With the recent news of Deshaun Watson entering the draft, a marquee player previously thought out of reach could fall to the eighth pick. While many Carolina Panthers fans are looking at wide receivers like Mike Williams or safeties like Jamal Adams, a premier defensive tackle could fall to the Panthers.
That defensive tackle is Alabama’s Jonathan Allen.
Mark my words, if Allen falls to the eighth pick, he will be the latest Carolina Panthers first rounder. Allen is considered to be a likely top 5 pick, but stranger things have happened, especially with three teams ahead of the Panthers in need of a quarterback.
I know, I know. This move would break the internet. But I believe the Panthers would not be drafting Allen as a defensive tackle, but instead as a classic 5 technique defensive end. A look into Allen’s history shows just how easy a transition that would be for him.
Allen went to receiver, to safety, to defensive line in High school. His intentions were never to be a 300 pound defensive tackle. Allen was originally recruited by Alabama to play outside linebacker. Once Allen hit 260 pounds he moved to defensive end where he was among the top 3 in the country as a sophomore.
Allen is a freak athlete that has shown the ability to not only adapt his mind but also his body to play a myriad of positions. In the NFL, he could easily drop 10 pounds and be the star defensive end that may actually contribute as a rookie, something most rookie defensive ends never do.
In short, Jonathan Allen is a football player that would excel at any position a team puts him in. Alabama head coach Nick Saban thinks so.
“Jonathan Allen has been a very productive player for us and certainly played well last year,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the still 6-foot-3 Allen, who played last year around 270 pounds. “I think his diversity as a player, being able to play outside, rush inside, still strong enough to play the point inside makes him a pretty special guy for us. He’s played really good football for us.”
So the next time someone throws a “the Panthers will select a defensive tackle” joke your way, understand that there may be a bit of truth in it.