Height/Weight: 6’5 240
Accolades: 2017 Maxwell Award Watchlist,
Career Stats: Sports-Reference
There isn’t a player in this year’s draft that will elicit a wider-range of opinions than Josh Allen. His arm-talent is breathtaking, he’s got NFL size, he can move, and his teaching under Craig Bohl has some scouts whispering Carson Wentz comparisons. He’s the dude who NFL scouts fall in love with because he can throw the ball over the mountains over there like Uncle Rico. He can frigging sling it with the best of them. He could be the first guy taken on April 26th.
Josh Allen is not Carson Wentz however. Allen never had a completion percentage above 56% in either of his two seasons as starting QB of the ‘Pokes. Any time he faced a Power-5 team at Wyoming he struggled. He’s raw, somewhat of a late-bloomer that Bohl discovered playing at Reedley Community College before the start of the 2015 season. Was his offensive line terrible? Very. Were his receivers slow? Incredibly. But rarely does a QB start completing passes at a higher-rate at the next level. What makes Josh Allen different?
Arm-strength, arm-strength, arm-strength. Josh Allen is the quarterback equivalent of the bad boy the nice girl thinks she can fix. “I just know I can fix him.” He’s got the arm, who cares if completing a pass basically comes down to a coin-flip every time the ball leaves his hand? There are a dozen or so NFL organizations convincing themselves that they can fix him. I mean just watch his highlight film and try not to fall in love.
He has the foundation of a skill-set that you can see working in the NFL. Sometimes you see a little Ben Roethlisberger; sometimes you see a little Kyle “Shoulda been a” Boller. He does look like a poor man’s version of Carson Wentz at times. Aside from his arm-strength, Allen can move for a big guy (6’5 240ish) and can pick-up a first down with his feet if necessary. But he is not reckless with his mobility; instead, he is adept at keeping his eyes downfield and extending the play.
He is a hard guy to sack, and he can make any throw you need him to, whether it is sitting in the pocket or on the run. His mechanics are mostly solid, and he has the quick release that NFL scouts crave. He’s even played under center a fair amount at Wyoming, somewhat of a dying breed at the collegiate level. You can see the potential here. If he were by the Giants and could sit behind Eli Manning for a season or two, he might flourish. If it’s the Browns, however, then he could be playing in the CFL, XFL, or the AFL-CIO in three years.
He did have a good week at the Senior Bowl. Perhaps two years of scouts blowing smoke up his ass can become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s possible that he’s buying into his hype and that’s given him confidence. See, even I am talking myself into Josh Allen.
Essentially everything else. Allen struggled against good competition whether it was Iowa, Nebraska, Boise State, or Fresno State. Is the The Potato Bowl really his signature win? Is Allen clutch? It’s really hard to tell.
Besides competition concerns, he has a career completion percentage of 56.3%. Allen has ball security issues. He has a hero-complex due to his arm-strength that makes him forces balls into tight spaces (TWSS). Josh Allen is a sub-par decision-maker and exhibits little finesse on the short throws. He simply throws too many interceptions. His arm-talent means that sometimes he throws off his back foot instead of following through with his hips. He’s the sort of QB that the late-great Al Davis would fall in love with because he can throw a mile…and not much else. Worst case scenario, he’s Jeff George.
He’s going on the first day. Most likely in the top 10. Personally, I would rather draft Darnold or Rosen if I were Cleveland. I think they are more seasoned and more accurate passers. While Allen has some definite talent that translates well to the next level, he is raw. His success is predicated on who drafts him. He could be the next Ben Roethlisberger or even Carson Wentz one day, but if he’s taken by a franchise that will throw him to the wolves (I’m looking at you Browns and Jets), then he will probably struggle. I’ve seen this movie too many times before.
Blake Bortles had a 59% completion percentage, and NFL fans ripped him to shreds all year, despite taking his team to the AFC championship game. Can you imagine how salty New York or Cleveland fans would treat a QB that completed 56% or less of his throws? But if a stable organization with a reputation like the Giants or Broncos, that is willing to give him the time he needs to develop short and intermediate accuracy; then I could see Allen succeeding.