NASHVILLE - Josh Allen, the best edge-rusher available in this year's NFL draft, thinks it would be "crazy" if he ended up playing NFL football not far from where he grew up in Montclair, N.J.
It would be even crazier if he ended up playing for the Giants and not the Jets.
That might be a possibility, though, depending on how things shake out at the top of NFL Draft, which kicks off on Thursday night. The idea that Allen, the 6-foot-5, 262-pound pass-rushing monster, would slip past the Jets at No. 3 once seemed crazy. But now, many NFL people are speculating he could fall right out of the Top 5.
If he does, it might be impossible for Giants GM Dave Gettleman to pass on him, considering how badly his team needs to find a pass rusher in this draft. In fact, one NFL source said Gettleman has been "pass-rush crazed" in the run up to the draft - which is why so many have long believed he was going to pick a defensive player at No. 6.
That's not a guarantee, of course. As SNY reported earlier Wednesday, there are NFL sources who believe the Giants will select Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at 6. They have strongly considered finding their Quarterback of the Future this year, and it would be safer to draft one at 6 than waiting and hoping their choice will still be available at 17.
But the presence of Allen, who had 17 sacks at Kentucky last season, could be a game-changer the Giants couldn't possibly have envisioned several weeks ago.
How could it happen? Well, the general belief around the league has long been that the Arizona Cardinals will take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1, and then the San Francisco 49ers will take Ohio State's Nick Bosa at No. 2. The Jets were long thought to be Allen's most likely destination at 3.
But the Jets appear to be more interested in Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, according to an NFL source. And they are actually most interested in trading down, as SNY has previously reported. If they do trade down, it probably will be to a team looking to take a quarterback with the third overall pick, which will send Allen tumbling further down the board.
The Oakland Raiders, at No. 4, are a wild card, but many believe their target is Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been "locked in" on LSU linebacker Devin White at No. 5, said another NFL source.
And that would leave Allen sitting there at 6.
If the Giants end up taking the best available defensive player, which is what many believe they will do, it seems impossible they'd pass up Allen in that scenario. He'd be the perfect replacement for Olivier Vernon, the edge rusher the Giants traded to Cleveland. And given his production in the SEC -- 31 sacks in three years as a starter -- he has the potential to be a future Pro Bowler in the NFL.
Yes, they could still take a quarterback, too, depending on which one (or ones) go in the Top 5. But Gettleman has insisted he won't "reach" for a quarterback at 6, that he's comfortable taking the best available player. And it's hard to imagine that Allen won't be one of the highest-rated players on the Giants' board.