By Andrew Garda
Former Montclair High School football star Josh Allen was selected with the 7th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Allen grew up in Montclair and lived in Alabama for his first three years of high school before spending his senior year as a two-way star on the Mounties’ 2014 state championship squad.
After Allen originally signed to play at Division I FCS Monmouth University, MHS head coach John Fiore called around, including to Kentucky coaches, urging them to watch game tape.
He would go on to have a great collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, where he was named a consensus All-American during his junior year as a Wildcat—when he compiled 88 tackles and 17 sacks—and after his senior year, won the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Trophies, both awarded to the best defensive player in college football.
— John Fiore (@HFC_JohnFiore) April 26, 2019
Allen had been thought to be a target for both the New York Jets and New York Giants, but will instead be joining and already potent defense in Jacksonville. There is still a New York connection though, as Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations is Tom Coughlin, who was head coach with the Giants for twelve seasons.
Coughlin was ecstatic with the pick, according to Jaguars.com.
At the strongside linebacker position, which is where he is projected to play, he will line up next to former second round pick Myles Jack at the middle linebacker position and across from weakside linebacker Telvin Smith.
“I’m about to go to an organization that really strives to sack the quarterback; that’s what I love to do,” Allen told the official Jaguars website Thursday night. “I can’t wait to get started.”
NFL.com’s Chad Rueter wrote this about the selection of Allen:
The Jaguars got great value in Allen, a top-three talent, at No. 7 overall. They can play him all over the place to wreak havoc as a pass rusher, and he can make plays in coverage, too. It was either Ed Oliver or Allen at this pick, and I can’t blame them for going in this direction with former first-round pick Taven Bryan waiting in the wings.
Rueter graded the selection with an “A.”
Allen’s first round selection made him the highest drafted Mounties player in the school’s history. Until Thursday, that honor had belonged to Jeff Mills, a 1986 MHS graduate, who had been taken with the fourth pick of the third round in the 1990 NFL draft.