Last week, we saw the first legitimate mock NFL Draft that listed Josh Allen as the first name off of the board.
“The Cardinals are moving back to a 3-4 front,” Zierlein wrote. “Allen offers elite size and rush talent off the edge to fit perfectly opposite Chandler Jones.”
His logic for the Cardinals taking Allen is solid. His speed off of the edge and his ability to drop back in pass coverage effectively is the perfect fit for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Like many mock drafts, Zierlein has the top of the draft loaded with edge rushers. However, he is the only one that I have seen that shows Ohio State Buckeyes lineman Nick Bosa dropping to No. 3 behind Michigan’s Rashan Gary, who goes No. 2 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Zierlein also believes that Kyler Murray is an option for the Oakland Raiders at the No. 4 spot. From the various drafts I have seen and commentary I have read, even those that believe Murray could go in the top half of the first round do not believe he is ready to step in and take over a team from a veteran, franchise quarterback like Derek Carr. This seems like a bit of a reach.
The deeper you get into Zierlein’s analysis, the more it seems like he values potential over proven ability. While some teams are certainly open to taking chances, it rarely happens as much in the top ten picks.
So based on the risks Zierlein is predicting will be taken, I would say Josh Allen’s upside combined with his domination of college football in 2018 is the perfect combination for the No. 1 overall selection.
Elsewhere, several other mock drafts have guys not named Bosa going No. 1, though it’s not Allen always being the top pick. The latest mock drafts by CBS Sports and Draft Wire have Alabama Crimson Tide lineman Quinnen Williams going No. 1, while Bosa goes No. 2. Both projections have Allen going No. 3 to the New York Jets.
Nearly every mock draft on the internet has Allen going within the first three picks, as it appears some combination of Bosa, Williams and Allen will be the first three picks in this year’s draft.
Of course, a lot can change between now and April, but it’s good to see there’s a chance that Allen becomes the top pick this year.
Be sure to also check out a great breakdown of Allen by the folks at Pro Football Focus: