ARIZONA CARDINALS

The MMQB’s Peter King mocks ‘Bama DL Jonathan Allen to Cardinals

Apr 25, 2017, 9:05 AM | Updated: 4:19 pm
Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is interviewed by the media after the beating Texas A&...
Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is interviewed by the media after the beating Texas A&M during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 33-14. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

It’s almost here.

After months of lead-up and hundreds and hundreds of mock drafts, the 2017 NFL Draft will get underway Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Only a couple of things are givens in this year’s festivities. We know that 253 players will be selected and we know that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will get booed mercilessly. Other than that, the whole thing is a crapshoot.

The Arizona Cardinals currently own eight picks over the seven-round event, including two fifth-round picks and the 13th overall selection in the first round. If you’ve been following Arizona Sports’ Mock Draft Tracker, you know that dozens of different players have been connected to the Cards by a number of different experts.

Leave it to The MMQB’s Peter King to add another name to the list just two days before the draft. The respected NFL scribe projects the Cardinals to take Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen with the 13th pick.

Cards want a day one starter, and they luck into the falling Allen here.

The prediction is interesting because Allen is projected to be off the board much earlier than 13th. For instance, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Allen going to Jacksonville at No. 4, and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports projects the Crimson Tide star to be snapped up by Chicago with the 3rd overall selection.

If King’s projection is correct, it could be a real boon for the Cardinals, who are likely to feel the loss of Calais Campbell, who bolted to Jacksonville in free agency. ESPN’s Todd McShay rates Allen as the best run-stopping lineman in this draft class.

Allen is an explosive player at the point of attack. He uses his length (nearly 34-inch arms) to lock out blockers.

The 6-foot-3, 291-pound Allen wreaked havoc for Alabama’s defense in 2016, registering 69 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and three fumble recoveries.

Allen won the Vince Lombardi/Rotary, Chuck Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks Awards in addition to being a unanimous All-American selection.

It’s also interesting to note that the Cardinals drafted another defensive lineman in the first round in 2016, when they chose Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche with the 29th overall pick. The Cardinals haven’t selected defensive lineman with consecutive first-round picks since they took defensive end Don Brumm (13th overall) and defensive tackle Ken Kortas (ninth overall) in 1963 and 1964.

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The MMQB’s Peter King mocks ‘Bama DL Jonathan Allen to Cardinals