Josh Allen Achieves NFL Dream
Josh Allen wasn’t sure which team would take him, but he knew exactly who he would bring with him when he found out.
As he strode across the stage as the seventh overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL Draft, Allen carried his young son, Wesley.
“I just want to show the world who I am,” Allen said.
Though Thursday was his night, Allen couldn’t imagine anything other than sharing it with Wesley and his wife, Kaitlyn. Allen has had one of the more memorable weeks anyone could hope to have. Earlier in the week, he and Kaitlyn got married. Thursday night, he became the 16th Kentucky Wildcat picked in the first round of the NFL Draft.
“This night is amazing,” Kaitlyn said. “We’ve been waiting for this night for so long. Being married is amazing, but this is what we’ve been looking forward to. Our honeymoon, we’re going to celebrate our honeymoon and this night all together.”
The Allen family has had plenty to celebrate of late, starting with Wesley’s birth nearly 17 months ago. Motivated to build a better life for his young son, Allen bypassed a chance to enter the draft after his junior season. All he did in making his return was register 17 sacks, win national defensive player of the year honors and lead UK to its first 10-win season in four decades.
“He’s probably one of my favorite players in college football,” said Desmond Howard, who revealed on ABC’s broadcast of the draft that Allen was his choice for the best player. “I love the way he approaches the game.”
The first six picks of the draft brought some surprises and some resulting reactions from unhappy fans with which social media had a field day. There would be no such reactions from Jaguars fans, who rejoiced when their team pounced on Kentucky’s all-time sack leader.
“As it was coming down, there were a number of picks in front of us where we thought he would go,” Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said. “When he fell to us, he was a superior football player – and too good a player to possibly pass up.”
The Jags might not have expected Allen to land in their laps, but they were ready when they did. From the sound of it, Jacksonville watched plenty of Kentucky football this past season.
“They’ve done a good job, Coach (Mark) Stoops and Kentucky,” Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone said. “They really have done a good job. You watch those players, and I haven’t been in the SEC for a long time, but he’s done a great job there and you see those players. They’re playing hard, they’re playing with great effort and they got size and speed, where when I was in the SEC they didn’t have a lot of that and they were always tough. They’re doing a good job there and they’re producing some good players.”
Allen, whose journey from two-star prospect to the best defensive player in college football has been well documented, is proof of that. For four years at Kentucky, Allen never stopped improving.
“He’s got power and he’s got speed,” Marrone said. “That’s what you look for. He’s not a one-dimensional guy. Like all the pass rushers that are coming into the league, you’re going to have to develop and develop your game.”
With Kaitlyn and Wesley at his side, there should be little doubt he’ll do exactly that.
“That’s who I am,” Allen said. “I’m a family man. I’ll go to work every day for these two right here and I will never stop working ’til the day I die.”