Playing the waiting game at the NFL Draft is not for the faint of heart. Green room veteran Mark Stoops warned Josh Allen ahead of the long night in Nashville.
“I was sitting there lecturing Josh early on about being patient,” Stoops said. “Things don’t always go the way we anticipate sometimes and it seems like an eternity back in that room. But yet, he and I were both sitting in that room getting a little antsy. We can’t lie.”
Projected to be picked in the top five for months, Allen did not hear his name called until the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the clock with the seventh pick.
“He talked about crying when he was going to take that phone call and I think I was about ready to cry, that’s for sure,” said Stoops. “He looked at me with a big smile and it was just, really emotional.”
Falling further than expected in the draft isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when the team you fall to is just a year removed from an AFC Championship Game appearance. Tagged as “Sacksonville,” college football’s best pass rusher in 2018 joins a defense that already features Calais Campbell, Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey.
“That’s a great team. Things always work out for the right reasons,” Stoops said. “He’s going to Florida; no state tax. He’s going to a great defensive team. He’s playing with some really good players. I know several of those guys. They’re great people and they’ll be great teammates and so it’s exciting for him.”
When Allen takes the field for the first time as a Jaguar, it will not be the first time he’s played at TIAA Bank Field. As a sophomore in 2016 he recorded seven tackles for Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl. His experience against Georgia Tech will not quite be the same as when lines up against reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to open the 2019 NFL season.