Why Did the Raiders Pass on Josh Allen in the 2019 NFL Draft? Jon Gruden Explains
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When the Oakland Raiders selected University of Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they paved the way for the Jacksonville Jaguars to do something most thought they would have zero chance to do: draft Josh Allen.
Allen, who Jacksonville selected seventh overall out of the University of Kentucky, has been a dominant rookie force for a struggling Jaguars (4-9) defense. In 13 games, Allen has set a Jaguars' rookie record in sacks with nine while also collecting 10 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He has been everything Jacksonville needed in an edge rusher opposite Yannick Ngakoue and more.
In comparison, Ferrell has 3.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and zero forced fumbles in 12 games. He plays a similar role that Allen plays for Jacksonville's defense and most were surprised to ultimately see him picked before Allen.
So, why did the Raiders pass on the Jaguars' rookie in favor of Ferrell? Raiders head coach Jon Gruden explained on a conference call Wednesday that Allen was a part of their discussion, but it was about fit.
"He really was (close). He was a big part of our thought process there," Gruden said.
"We are a 4-3 defensive team and we really had no pure defensive ends on our team. And we wanted to take Josh because of his obvious pass rushing ability, but we needed a six-technique -- a guy that could play on first down. Not that Josh can't, but we needed what we felt was a pure 4-3 defensive end."
This is a bit curious considering Allen has been a strong run defender and has played defensive end exclusively for Jacksonville, but it was Gruden's reasoning. To Gruden's credit, he knows Allen is a great player and noted it wasn't an easy decision to pass on the rookie phenom.
"We wish we could have taken Josh and Clelin honestly. It was a tough decision, and I know Jacksonville has a good young player there that is a great kid too," Gruden said.