By Greg Gabriel--
Editor's note: You can read Gabriel's other scouting reports on highly regarded NFL Draft prospects by clicking here.
(CBS) For the most part, this year's NFL Draft will be heavy on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the early rounds. The draft is really strong at the edge pass rusher, defensive tackle, cornerback and safety positions. The best defensive tackle in that strong group is Alabama's Jonathan Allen.
Allen isn't the biggest player at that position, but he has shown dominating characteristics the last two seasons. We will get verified height weight and speed at the NFL Combine, but I expect he will measure about 6-foot-3, 290 pounds and run about a 4.90-second 40-yard dash.
Over the last two seasons, Allen has recorded 30.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks, lofty numbers for an inside player. What makes those numbers even more amazing is that Alabama rotates its defensive linemen. While the Crimson Tide didn't rotate as much in 2016 as they did in 2015, none of their defensive linemen play every snap.
While Allen might not be the biggest player, he's strong and explosive, has long arms and is a really good athlete for a defensive linemen. He's quick off the ball, stays low and has good hand use. Allen has natural bend and plays with a strong base, almost never giving ground to his opponent. Not only does he have the physical traits needed, but he's very instinctive and quick to find the ball. He can be a dominant force in the run game as well as being an excellent inside pass rusher.
In the Alabama base defense, Allen usually lined up as a right end but has also played on the left side. In pass rush situations, he was moved all over and lined up both inside and outside. At times, he was utilized over the least-talented member of the foe's offensive line in order to create a mismatch.
As a pass rusher, Allen comes off the ball quickly, has a variety of moves and can bull rush. His counter moves come quickly too, making it difficult for his opponent to recover. His hand use his excellent for a college defensive lineman.
Overall, Allen has the talent to play in any defensive scheme. He can be a 5-technique in a base 3-4 or he can play as the 3-technique in a four-man front. He has the quickness and overall athleticism to also play left end in most 4-3 schemes.
Allen will most likely be the first interior defensive lineman drafted and will come in and start right away. He should make a huge impact as a rookie, and he has the traits to be an eventual Pro Bowl-type player. Allen should be available when the Bears draft at No. 3 overall, and he would be really tough to pass up.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.
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