#1 Seed: Josh Allen EDGE Kentucky
Allen is an explosive edge rusher. During his time at Kentucky, he piled up 31.5 sacks. Seventeen of them came in his senior season. He has an explosive step and tremendous bend, showing excellent flexibility. Allen makes tight turns and maintains his speed while doing it.
His coverage skills are above average, especially for a rusher. He gets into zones very quickly and displays the ability to cover backs and tight ends.
Versatility is Allen’s biggest asset. While at Kentucky, he showed an ability to play with his hand in the dirt as an end, rush from the standing position, and drop back in coverage.
Allen needs to improve his hands, his vision, and against the run.
He has some decent hand-fighting techniques, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Doing so would allow him to develop a better inside move and not rely so much on his speed to get to the quarterback.
Allen has yet to develop the ability to deconstruct offensive linemen sets and plan his rush accordingly. He also isn’t ideal against the run as he struggles to shed offensive tackles in run-blocking scenarios.
It’s also worth noting that the Lions would need to trade up from eight to get Allen. Most people have him going to the Jets at number three.
Trading into the top three is not an easy task. The Lions would have to give up their eighth pick, and potentially a package of high round picks to make this move.
# 5 Seed: Devin Bush LB, Michigan
Bush has outstanding instincts and is a huge hitter. He plays bigger than his size and punishes ball carriers. He has speed to burn and plays sideline to sideline. Bush has great hands and a real feel for the game. He projects as a WILL (weak-side inside linebacker) in a 3-4 scheme. The Lions are looking to run more 3-4 in their multiple-formation system.
Bush is small for an NFL linebacker. Many teams will pass over him as he lacks the true height or length to challenge slants across the middle. He also tends to get swallowed up by blockers in the second level and tries to challenge too much. Instead, Bush should use his speed and agility to squeeze around blockers, but that’s not something he currently does enough.
He can’t gain height, but he can certainly add a little bulk and learn to play more to his strengths.
This is a very tough matchup. Both fit perfectly into a 3-4 system, and while Allen is the better player, Bush may be the better value. Most mocks have Bush going anywhere from 16-20 meaning the Lions could trade down and still get him.
Allen could be a transformative player on the defensive line.
Taking it all into consideration, I believe that it’s best to trade down, add some additional picks, and draft Bush around 15 or so.
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