We’re upon a formative offseason for the San Francisco 49ers — one that can go a long way in defining the state of the franchise, as a whole, for perhaps the next decade or so. Among the positions still needing solidification include adding a bonafide pass rushing specialist — one who opposing offenses have to game plan around, one who can put pressure on the quarterback consistently, one who can force turnovers directly and indirectly. This sort of presence on the defensive side of the ball has been sorely lacking for San Francisco since the days of Aldon Smith. This year, though, the 49ers find themselves in prime position to shore up a glaring weakness and take a significant step forward in their rebuilding process.
Up until this point Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa has been the consensus number one pick in every mock draft. However, after the showing that Josh Allen just put on in the Citrus Bowl, there may be some execs and scouts around the league may be second-guessing that school of thought. Allen even said as much, going as far to say that he deserves nothing less than being selected first overall in April:
Josh Allen, "Ya'll record this! If I don't go #1 I don't know who is."— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) January 1, 2019
Benny Snell adds, "Tell em what it is" pic.twitter.com/fIcQvTNbSv
Allen dominated throughout Kentucky’s 27-24 victory over Penn St., recording three sacks and even blocking a field goal and set Kentucky football records for career sacks (31.5) and sacks in a season (17). It seemed like, for all intents and purposes, he did everything in his power to show those watching that he truly is the best available option for Arizona at No. 1 or San Francisco at No. 2. Below you can see highlights of plays he made throughout the game:
Josh Allen gets to the quarterback again and then rocks the baby like Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/fjiQJWRX3T— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 1, 2019
Josh Allen is going to make an impact wherever he goes. If he’s not providing the pressure, he’s opening up gaps for delayed blitzes and forcing one on one’s everywhere else #NFLDraft19 #kentucky #KentuckyWildcats pic.twitter.com/aWBNm6suMg— Prospect Breakdown (@Thee_ProsBrkdwn) January 2, 2019
When Allen isn’t getting sacks he’s making his mark on the game in other ways. As stated above, he attracts enough attention to force one on one matchups and freeing up lanes for delayed blitzes for the rest of his teammates. If he is able to put pressure on the quarterback, though, he can have drastic effects on the passing game — something that San Francisco desperately needs.
Adding Allen to a line that already boasts the likes of Deforest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and an improving Solomon Thomas bodes very well for the team as a whole. If the pass rush production can be increased by drafting someone who can be plugged in and start contributing right away then, again, the rebuild will take a giant step forward.