INDIANAPOLIS – Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, widely considered a top prospect in this year’s NFL draft, has reportedly vaulted up the Buffalo Bills big board after Bills GM Doug Whaley learned more about Allen’s injury history and outlook at this week’s NFL Combine.
"Injuries are about two things: toughness and getting injured. You always want to take this chance to really dig in and get to know about a guy’s history," Whaley said. "For us, we know the top four or five players on our roster will be injured each year, so we look for guys who are familiar with the whole surgical and rehab process."
According to Whaley, Allen shined during in-depth interviews held during the early portion of Combine week.
"First, I asked him if he would rather be a dog or a cat. He said cat," Whaley said. "I like cats. They’re clean, low maintenance, and highly athletic. So that checked one box."
"Second, I asked him about his injury concerns, where we learned that he’s had multiple surgeries, and that he’s not fully in the clear yet. That’s when we knew he was our guy."
While Buffalo holds the #10 pick in this year’s draft, Allen is expected to be chosen in top 5, with some prognosticators predicting him to fall in the top 3. Still, Whaley says his team is prepared to move if the opportunity presents itself.
"Our phone lines are always open. Star players with these types of chronic and potentially unhealed injuries are hard to find. We got one last year. If the price is right, we’re going to do what we have to do to make it happen again."
The NFL Draft will be held April 27-29.