New Jaguars DE Josh Allen: "Man, oh man … I'm ready''

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen speaks at a press conference after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Allen in the first round of the NFL Draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen speaks at a press conference after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Allen in the first round of the NFL Draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)

JACKSONVILLE – Josh Allen knows what his new team is about.

He knows what he's about, too – and as he sees it, that combination makes for a great fit.

"I'm about to go to an organization that really strives to sack the quarterback; that's what I love to do," Allen said late Thursday night. "I can't wait to get started."

Allen, an edge player from the University of Kentucky who the Jaguars selected No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft Thursday, hardly could have been more accurate.

He's coming to Jacksonville to pressure quarterbacks.

In that sense, he should – and must – fit in well.

"Seventeen-and-a-half sacks … I hope he can rush the passer," Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin said, referring to the statistic that helped Allen be named the SEC's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. "We expect him to be able to be on the edge no matter what you line up with."

General Manager David Caldwell on Thursday said Allen likely will quickly play opposite fourth-year Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in passing situations. That could mean a pass-rushing foursome of Ngakoue, Allen, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and defensive end Calais Campbell – with Campbell moving inside in passing situations to the interior rusher role at which he has excelled the past two seasons.

"In our division, when you play [Indianapolis Colts quarterback] Andrew Luck and you play [Houston Texans quarterback] Deshaun Watson and you play [Tennessee Titans quarterback] Marcus Mariota – and then in a conference where you have some great quarterbacks – you have to be able to get after them," Caldwell said. "Between Yannick and him and Calais and Marcell, it's going to be a fun season."

Allen was projected by some as an ideal 3-4 NFL linebacker, but Coughlin on Thursday discussed him as a versatile player who can fit as a pass rusher – and who also can play defensive end or outside backer.

"They get after the quarterback," Allen said. "That's all I need to hear. I went there on my visit and they said, 'We get after the quarterback.' That's all I had to hear. I don't care. They can run a 5-12 … I don't care. They said, 'Get after the quarterback.' That's what I do best: get after the quarterback."

Allen said he also looked forward to playing with Ngakoue, a 2017 Pro Bowl selection who has 29.5 sacks in three NFL seasons. He said he has been a huge fan of the veteran since Ngakoue played at Maryland.

"We're young," he said. "We can grow together. We've got veterans on the inside, young guys on the back end plus veterans. I'm trying to learn from him. He's had a lot of success in the NFL. I'll try to pick his brain.

"I feel like we can help each other out. When they're blocking him, that frees me. When they're blocking me, he can just eat. I feel like me and him can work hand-in-hand together. We can make a lot of plays. We can make something special in Jacksonville."

Allen said he met with many of the Jaguars' decision-makers during his pre-draft visit in March, including Owner Shad Khan, Coughlin, Caldwell, Head Coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator Todd Wash. He said he liked Wash's animated style.

"I loved it," Allen said. "He showed me how they could use me. It's unbelievable. I can't wait."

Allen said when he initially got the phone call from the Jaguars Thursday night, he couldn't react in a way that showed his excitement. Wesley was on his lap watching Monsters University. But he said that calm demeanor hid his real feelings.

"I couldn't jump up and cheer, so I had to play it cool," he said with a laugh. "But I was happy. I'm just happy to be a part of an organization.

"When I saw it was Jacksonville, I said, 'Man. Man, oh man. I'm ready.'''

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