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Josh Allen wows, declares for NFL Draft — let the debate begin

Wyoming QB will be one of the draft’s most hotly-debated players

NCAA Football: Potato Bowl-Central Michigan vs Wyoming
Josh Allen in action on Friday vs. Central Michigan.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen said Friday that he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft. His announcement came on the heels of a drool-worthy performance in the Idaho Potato Bowl with three spectacular first-quarter touchdown throws.

If you watched the game this is what you saw:

A really special throw for a 23-yard touchdown.

A high-velocity throw on the run for a score.

A perfectly placed deep ball that dropped out of the sky for a score.

It was enough to make someone watching Allen for the first time wonder why he hasn’t been talked about as the top quarterback prospect in the nation, and to pound the table and say “The New York Giants have to select that guy.”


Evaluators who have been watching him for a while now are filled with mixed feelings about the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Allen. After all, how can a guy who throws the ball like that complete only 56.2 percent of his passes over a 26-game college career?

Those evaluators offer a cautionary tale.

Bucky Brooks of scouted the game and compared Allen to Blake Bortles, who struggled for most of three season before finally seeming to establish himself this year.

Brooks wrote that “Allen dazzled the football world with an extraordinary passing exhibition that teased every scout in attendance” on Friday.

He summarized his thoughts on Allen this way:

After watching four quarters of Allen against decent competition on Friday, I believe he will be one of the most debated prospects during the pre-draft process. For all of his physical tools and splashy plays, Allen is an inconsistent playmaker with a number of warts on his game. He has accuracy and pocket-awareness issues that could lead to serious struggles at the next level. While there have been some quarterbacks who have worked around those issues as pros, the majority of NFL players are exactly what they were as collegians.

Thus, scouts will need to decide if Allen can ever reach his potential, even though he has a set of tools that should make him an elite player in time. As a two-year starter with a completion rate around 56 percent, it's hard to envision him ever becoming the efficient passer that some coaches covet in a QB1.

Tiki Barber also tempered the Allen enthusiasm a bit:

"He looks the part... but more important to me than looking the part is being the part and I don't know if he's always been the part," he said on his show Tiki and Tierney Friday. "I'm just saying, have a little bit of caution."

SB Nation says Allen is risky, but a lot of fun to watch:

If you just look at the numbers, there is no way he’s a first-round quarterback. There has to be some semblance of production in college to justify some a lofty draft ranking, even if you’re playing with a talent disadvantage around you. If you can’t complete passes in college, why should we believe that you can complete them in the NFL? It’s the same sport.

In the real world, we would just end the story of Allen here: an average mid-major quarterback who had led his team to some big wins in 2016 but couldn’t follow it up in 2017. Next. Unfortunately, we can’t, because some NFL team will fall in love with him and draft him much higher than he should.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller is on the Allen train:

The first step in evaluating college quarterbacks for the NFL is to realize that 99.9 percent of players must be developed as they make the jump from Saturdays to Sundays. Even Peyton Manning needed time to learn under quarterback coach Bruce Arians in his rookie season and he's considered the greatest quarterback prospect of my lifetime. So if every quarterback needs developed, why not bet on the best traits? It's a gamble, but when you realize every pick is a risk you might as well bet big. It was the same argument I made last October when telling NFL scouts that Patrick Mahomes should be a first-rounder.

Josh Allen has rare traits in terms of arm strength and athleticism; after watching him in person I'd say his arm is the strongest I've ever seen. Allen is able to make difficult throws from any platform and can easily throw a 25-yard out route on a line from the opposite hash. ...

Allen is 21 years old. He's only been able to buy a beer for a few months. Expecting him to be something he isn't is why the draft process is so frustrating. Accept his strengths and know you have to work on his weaknesses.

When I got into scouting over 10 years ago, an NFL general manager told me in an email to focus on what a player can do and not what he can't as the golden rule of scouting. With Allen, it's all the things he can do that make him a first-round prospect.

All I know at this point is that we are going to spend a ton of time here over the next few months debating whether or the Giants should take a quarterback, and I’m sure there will be some who think Allen should be the guy.