The Chicago Bears drafted ninth and seventh overall in the previous two NFL Drafts. In 2016 Leonard Floyd, a defensive end out of Georgia was the pick. He had a monster rookie season. In 2015 wide receiver Kevin White was the pick. For awhile, Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen seemed like an ideal pick for the Chicago Bears. The NFL Scouting Combine has given the Bears and all other NFL teams cause for concern regarding the former 2016 Crimson Tide sack leader.
Jonathan Allen was a menace for the 14-1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Getting after the quarterback, stuffing the run, this is a player that could do it all with incredible speed and agility all while weighing just shy of 300 pounds.
The NFL Combine exposed some serious flaws and injury issues concerning Allen and his draft stock, and whether or not he can last in the NFL for years to come.
Alabama DL Jonathan Allen on arthritic shoulder: "Doctors said could be an issue in 15-20 years. No restrictions now. I feel great."
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 4, 2017
Allen bench pressed 21 reps of 225 pounds. Compared to the other defensive linemen who participated, that was on the lower end of what his competitors were able to do. Heading into the Combine, Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M was the only defensive lineman expected to be picked before Allen. Garrett bench pressed 33 reps, tied with one other lineman for the most in the 2017 Combine. Garrett still projects as the number one overall pick to the Cleveland Browns.
The Chicago Bears have a decision to make when they pick third. Just like the Bears had a decision to make when they drafted receiver Kevin White in 2015. In two seasons in the NFL, White appeared in just four games total. In the summer leading up to his rookie season, White was discovered to have a stress fracture in his shin. He would miss his entire rookie season.
“A year after White missed his entire rookie year following surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg, he’s again on the shelf, out of action and fading from the immediate rebuilding plans.”- Chicago Tribune, October 5 2016.
The Bears know all about drafting a player, a player they had high hopes for- whither away two seasons in a row with similar season-ending injuries. Jonathan Allen comes into this draft with injury issues hanging over his head. The Bears have won a total of nine games in the last two seasons and they need help immediately from players they draft particularly in the first few rounds.
Jonathan Allen is a risk, a risk the Bears cannot afford to take. Expect the Bears to take Jamal Adams (safety, LSU), Malik Hooker (safety, Ohio State) or Marshon Lattimore (cornerback, Ohio State) with the third overall pick.
Michael Berns is Editor in Chief of Endzonescore.com. He also contributes to college football writing: particularly covering the Illinois Fighting Illini and all things BigTen. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter –@MichaelBerms.