Way back in December, ESPN’s Todd McShay mocked Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen to the Detroit Lions with the ninth overall pick. Since that moment, there has been an increasing consensus that Allen is too good of a prospect to drop that far to the Lions.
But the tide is starting to shift back a little bit. With unbelievable NFL Combine performances from Montez Sweat and D.K. Metcalf, the Cardinals’ supposed obsession with Kyler Murray, and the Giants in full rebuild mode(?), suddenly the top seven picks in the 2019 NFL Draft are as uncertain as ever.
As a result, Allen is back in play for the Lions with the eighth overall pick, at least according to The Ringer’s Brian Kelly. In his latest mock draft, the Lions snag Allen as the third edge defender off the board. Here’s a look at the picks leading up to Detroit:
- Arizona Cardinals - QB Kyler Murray
- San Francisco 49ers - EDGE Nick Bosa
- New York Jets - DT Quinnen Williams
- Oakland Raiders - EDGE Montez Sweat
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - WR D.K. Metcalf
- New York Giants - QB Dwayne Haskins
- Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Jawaan Taylor
For a lot of Lions fans, this would have been a dream scenario two weeks ago. The Lions’ need for an edge rusher is certainly smaller now that the team inked Trey Flowers to a monster five-year deal, but Allen is still a top-tier talent in this draft. There may be other pressing needs for Detroit at this point, but it’d be hard to pass up on Allen if he fell this far.
Additionally, Allen could be a long-term plan at the JACK linebacker position. Though the Lions signed Devon Kennard to a three-year deal in 2018 to fill that role, his first year was just okay and Detroit could easily get out of his contract prior to the 2020 season if they had someone better.
This feels unlikely to happen on draft day, but teams have to prepare for the unexpected. Every year, it seems a prospect that many believed to be a can’t-miss talent slips in the draft, leading to an NFL team getting a “steal” somewhere in the first round. Maybe this year it’s the Lions and Josh Allen.