For the first time since being taken with the No. 17-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen strapped up his helmet and got to work at rookie minicamp.
For the first time since January's National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was on the field for something other than NFL Combine workouts.
Allen headlined a class of 62 players that were eligible to participate in the Washington Redskins' 2017 rookie minicamp this weekend at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"It's fast but I love it," said Allen of rookie minicamp following Saturday's practice session. "Really for me, it's just getting back in the swing of things. It's been fun. I'm just going to have to get back to work on Monday and get going with the team."
Allen, of course, was selected with the No. 17-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, coming off one of the most productive careers of any Alabama defensive player in recent memory.
In four active seasons with the Crimson Tide, the Ashburn, Va., native registered 152 tackles along with 28 sacks, six passes defensed, three fumbles forced, three fumbles recovered and a touchdown.
A projected first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Allen briefly entered last year before deciding to return for his senior season.
Since that decision, Allen has been working around the clock to improve his draft stock. While it's been a whirlwind experience for Allen, particularly the last month, he said he had more than enough downtime prior to officially joining the Redskins this week.
"For me it's just getting back into football playing shape and just things like that," Allen said. "Getting back to being in the stance every down, football related stuff. It was a good two days and I'm excited to build on it and progress on it and to help this team win."
At the start of both practice sessions, the position groups break out for individual drills. For the defensive linemen, that means working with veteran position coach Jim Tomsula who isn't shy in being vocal with the players.
On Friday, April 28th, 2017, Jonathan Allen arrived at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park where he met coaches and his new teammates.
During Saturday's session, Tomsula pulled Allen aside during a drill with the sled and made him watch from the other side as the coach went step-by-step with the first-round pick on applying proper technique.
After analyzing exactly what Tomsula wanted out of the drill, Allen stepped back in front of the sled and corrected some of the areas that needed work.
"Really we were working on stuff yesterday and [tried] to implement it today," Allen said. "Didn't have too much success with it at first but out here it's all about making progress. Winning is important but we are out here to try to make progress. Work on things I haven't worked before. He has done this before and I haven't so I'm just trying to take every little nugget that I can from him and just implement into my game."
As for Tomsula, though, Allen saw firsthand why he's considered one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL today.
"I love him," Allen said. "I've met him before this. Getting to play for him and work for him I'm excited for the opportunity. … He is everything you can think of. I don't think one word that can describe it. He has been a great coach the two days that I have worked with him. I can't imagine what we can get into this year."
The two days of practice allowed Allen to get his feet wet as he prepares for what he hopes is a lengthy career. While Allen understands that there's more to be picked up between now and the start of the regular season, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was impressed with what he saw out of Allen this week.
"I think he's got great football knowledge, No. 1," Gruden said. "No. 2, he has great hands and his feet are good, so I think he's got all the tools to be a great defensive lineman without a doubt. I think there's some things he can clean up – as all these young guys have issues that they need to clean up – but as far as skillset is concerned, Jonathan has everything you're looking for in a defensive lineman."