2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Josh Allen
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Allen was one of college football's breakout quarterbacks during the 2016 season. He put his great skill set on display as he led a potent offense. Allen completed 56 percent of his passes that season for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also ran for 523 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Allen was a redshirt sophomore, so he could have entered the 2017 NFL Draft, but he decided to return for his junior year.
In 2017, Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He notched five rushing touchdowns as well. Against weak opponents, Allen played well, but he struggled in games against Hawaii, Oregon and Iowa. Allen missed Wyoming's last two regular-season games with a shoulder injury. WalterFootball.com was first to report that Allen would enter the 2018 NFL Draft, and he announced his intent to declare after Wyoming's bowl game.
In speaking with a few team sources, I said to them that Allen is more of a skill set than a quarterback at this point of his development, which they agreed with. They also thought my analogy of him being like a young pitcher called up to the big leagues who is more of a hard thrower than a pitcher was accurate.
Allen has amazing physical tools that is close to the prototype of how any evaluator would draw up their ideal quarterback. He has a powerful right arm that can get the ball to any spot on the field. His cannon is able to push the ball vertically and stretch defenses downfield. In tight windows, Allen can fire a fastball that explodes out of his hand and cuts through a defense. He has a quick release and throws a tight spiral. His arm talent is legit.
Aside from the powerful arm, Allen is a big body with excellent strength to shed tackles. Routinely, you would see plays of Allen using his stature and power to shove off defensive linemen and then using his feet to escape trouble. From there, he can throw well on the run, yet is also dangerous to run through the defense. On those plays, Allen looks like a young Ben Roethlisberger. Allen is a good athlete with running ability to get downfield. He will be a good running threat in the NFL to pick up some yardage with his feet. While scrambling, Allen has done a nice job of keeping his eyes downfield to find receivers who get open. Allen is hard to sack and shows real toughness in the pocket.
There are a lot of points of development that Allen needs for the NFL. He has accuracy issues and can miss on throws that should be easy completions. His ball security and decision-making need a lot of work as well. He threw too many interceptions over the past few seasons. Improving his accuracy and decision-making are the critical points of emphasis. Allen could be better off working on those in practice with a redshirt year at the pro level. Being forced to play right away could be too big of a jump for him as he is coming from a non-Power 5 level of competition. Allen did not have a good supporting cast at Wyoming, so he may have to change his thinking for the NFL and not put everything on his on shoulders.
Some team sources who are skeptical of Allen compare him to Kyle Boller as a quarterback with big-time triangle numbers plus athleticism and major arm strength. They do have concerns about the lack of production against good opponents and not delivering clutch performances against better teams. Not every evaluator in the NFL is buying the excuse of a poor supporting cast, and they think that there is some danger to Allen as a prospect. Allen helped alleviate some concerns with an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. He improved each day and showed an ability to throw well-placed touch passes.
Allen is probably going to be a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Where Allen goes in the NFL will have a big impact on if he pans out. He needs good coaching to develop his game and improve on his fundamentals. Whichever team views him as a future franchise quarterback and takes him in the first round will have to have good quarterback teachers in house to work with Allen.
Player Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger/Kyle Boller. When Allen is playing well, he looks like a young Roethlisberger with his powerful arm, mobility and ability to make big plays with his feet. When Allen is struggling - throwing inaccurately and making poor decisions -, his style of play is reminiscent of Boller.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, New York Giants, Denver, New York Jets, Washington, Arizona, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans and Pittsburgh
There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL, and Allen should have plenty of suitors in the opening night of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns need a franchise quarterback, so Allen could be in play at picks No. 1 and No. 4.
The Giants could be a fit for Allen with the No. 2-overall pick. They could use a young franchise quarterback with Eli Manning aging.
The Broncos at No. 5 and Jets at No. 6 could be the sweet spot where Allen comes off the board. Both Denver and New York need a young franchise quarterback. Having both the Broncos and Jets pass on Allen seems unlikely.
The Redskins, Cardinals, Chargers, Saints, Bills, Jaguars,and Steelers all could have a need for a young franchise quarterback. Allen won't get to the first-round pick for any of these teams. In order for Allen to land with one of these franchises, it will require a massive trade up to get him. After the trades last year by the Chiefs and Texans for young franchise quarterbacks, one can't rule out the possibility that a team will move up for Allen. Washington and Arizona seem like the most likely organizations to move up for Allen.
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