Some of the first-round defensive line talent drafted since Suh includes Marcell Dareus, J.J. Watt, Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe and Aaron Donald, though none of those players were selected as early as Suh (No. 2 overall in 2010). A day earlier than Spears provided insight into the Cowboys' thinking on Allen, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared Allen to Suh as well:
"Allen has very good play strength, and Suh's play strength is other-worldly, so I would give Suh the nod in that area," Jeremiah said. "But Allen looks quicker, and what really impresses me about him is his technique and the way he locks in with his hands. I think Jonathan Allen can play 5-technique all day long, but he could play 3-technique if he was asked to do it. He doesn't have the same wiggle and burst of an Aaron Donald, but he's very athletic. Just look what happens when he gets isolated with guards."
The Detroit Lions chose Suh in 2010, and he became one of the NFL's top defensive linemen before signing a record-breaking contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. As a senior, Allen will be available in the 2017 draft, and NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt projects him as one of the top seven selections.
A lot remains ahead of Allen that will help determine his place in the 2017 draft -- the balance of the college season, the NFL Scouting Combine, Alabama's Pro Day and, perhaps, a week at the Reese's Senior Bowl. But roughly six months before the draft opens in Philadelphia, Allen's current draft status couldn't be much higher.