Straight A's are good, right?
With the exception of one, those are the early grade results for the Redskins from numerous draft experts after Washington took Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen with the 17th-overall pick on the first night of the NFL Draft.
In what was largely an unpredictable draft – with just about 20 different names mocked to the Redskins since the end of January – hardly anybody expected to see Allen fall to the Redskins. Head coach Jay Gruden didn’t expect to have the big man in a “million years,” but the decision when the team went on the clock was easy.
And thus, it was easy for many of the draft analysts to praise the selection. For several minds, Allen was a top-five selection that managed to drop as other teams became desperate to gobble up the offensive talent on the board.
They will, of course, be the first to tell you that a draft grade is a premature assessment, not an indication of how a player will fare in his career or even his first season. But it does represent the decision-making in the context of who was available and a way to compare the grades handed out before the draft to see if they match up correctly.
Consider the grades for posterity – something to look back on when a season or career is over, to scold or praise the person handing out them out. In the case of Allen and the Redskins, everyone, for now, is in strong agreement. Let's take a nice sigh of relief.
Draft Grade: A
"Allen's shoulders might be an issue six or seven years from now, but the Redskins needed a big-time talent up front right now. Excellent value."
"Headed into the draft, this was a difficult pick to peg because the Redskins' needs up front did not seem to match with the value expected to be here. Even with Allen's spotty medicals at the combine (arthritic shoulders), Washington could not have imagined he would slip to the back half of Round 1. So, when he did, this was an obvious selection. Allen's presence will make Washington's previously porous front much more difficult to run against, and it will ratchet up the pass rush—either via Allen himself bringing heat, or by Allen drawing attention from his teammates."
Draft Grade: A
"Allen is the steal of the draft. Concerns about his shoulder caused him to slide. His loss is Washington's gain. If that shoulder is healthy, he's going to give them a disruptive force on the interior. The Redskins needed pass rush; they'll get it from Allen."
"He's a top-five talent who fell. This is a heck of a pick."
"Allen falling this low was a shock to many. Not me. While his tape was awesome — he was the No. 2 player on my big board coming out of the college season — his athletic testing scores were scary low and he has serious injury concerns with his shoulder. He's well worth the risk at No. 17, though, and he's a need and tremendous scheme fit for Washington. And again, that tape is awesome."
"Allen played like a top five pick and got worn out at Alabama, which caused this drop. Still, I rate him as the second-best player in the draft this year and Washington should be elated to get him 17th overall. Allen can play anywhere on the line and creates havoc. If he can play well for two contracts, this is a great pick. If he can't the value diminishes."
"I bet the Redskins never would've imagined in a billion years that they'd land Jonathan Allen in the 2017 NFL Draft without trading up. Allen is a top-five prospect, but has fallen because of a shoulder issue. I'd say his shoulders must be bad, but he has been tremendous at Alabama, and his shoulders definitely weren't an issue last year when he was the best player in college football. Washington is getting an insane steal with Allen, who will fill a huge need for them in the team's poor front seven."
"Looks like Allen is just the latest model to roll of the Nick Saban assembly line. He's probably a two-gap end in Washington's system. Double-digit-sack seasons may be rare, but Allen will do everything else right and upgrade the whole line. The knock on Allen is an arthritic condition in his shoulder, which clearly scared a few teams away. But the Washington front office no doubt did its homework."
"Allen is the best true interior talent in the draft, and he fell for long-term concerns over his potentially arthritic shoulders. But even on a loaded Bama D, he stood out as a disruptor who has a little Geno Atkins in him. In a 3-4 scheme he'll be asked to hold the point more, but you can't hold Allen back. He's smart, strong, instinctive and will be an asset to a defense that could use a little more juice up front."
"Most projections had Allen going somewhere in the top 10, but he dropped into the teens because of concerns about the health of his shoulders. The Chuck Bednarik Award winner as college football's top defensive player, he should contribute to Washington from day one, slotting right into free-agent departure Chris Baker's spot on the defensive line. Allen is a versatile and disruptive talent, capable of knifing into the backfield and stuffing the run."