Determining where Josh Allen will Go

There are several months before the draft. Furthermore, there’s plenty of weeks before the Senior Bowl, the event that will display quarterbacks Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma. There’s an expectation that Josh Allen of Wyoming will potentially get one of the final roster spots for the game, but nothing has been made official.

Even if Josh Allen doesn’t get an invite, he’s one of the most complex studies in the 2018 NFL Draft. With Allen, you can put on the tape and see why scouts drool over his skill-set. He’s got the prototypical frame for a quarterback with a big arm and the athletic ability to extend plays beyond the pocket. However, there’s the other side to Allen’s tape, and it’s not pretty. His footwork can be all out of whack, he holds onto the ball too long and misfires on plenty of throws downfield.

Standing at a comfortable 6’5″ and weighing over 230 pounds, Josh Allen is built like Blake Bortles, which is funny because he could be in a similar situation as Bortles was in the 2014 NFL Draft. During that draft, Bortles was overshadowed by Johnny Manziel and had to compete with Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater for the top quarterback spot. When the dust settled, Bortles emerged as the third overall pick and was the first quarterback taken in that draft. With that being said, where will Josh Allen land after the dust settles for the 2018 NFL Draft?

Cleveland Browns

With the first overall pick and the fourth overall pick, it’s hard to believe that the Browns won’t spend one of their picks on a quarterback. I don’t necessarily agree with going about their quarterback situation that way because I do think they can develop DeShone Kizer. However, with this quarterback class, the Browns will be laughable again if they pass on one of these talented arms. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring in a veteran quarterback and trade away Kizer. Maybe that’s way too hot of a take for all of us to digest, but it’s a possibility.

Some veteran quarterback options for the Browns would be Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, or Alex Smith. That could easily buy them a year to develop Josh Allen and not throw him into their dumpster fire like they did with DeShone Kizer.

Whether the Browns bring in Allen or not, they have to provide their quarterback with some reliable weapons. Bouncing around from Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins, and Josh Gordon isn’t a good enough core for a Sunday filled with football. They have plenty of cap space and could very well pay big money for a wide receiver. Two names that instantly come to mind are Jarvis Landry and Allen Robinson. Would you be able to pull one of those receivers out of the state of Florida to come play in Cleveland? Good luck, but money does talk. As for Josh Allen, he seems like the long shot of the quarterbacks to be a Cleveland Brown, especially now that Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen have declared for the 2018 NFL Draft.

New York Giants

Truly, I don’t believe the Giants are going to draft a quarterback in the first round. They’ve needed help on their offensive line since drafting Ereck Flowers. If they keep neglecting that positional group, they won’t be able to develop any skill players. However, Eli Manning is nearing the end of his career, and maybe Dave Gettleman would like to draft his own guy. If they were to look at quarterback, then they could have Josh Rosen from UCLA or Sam Darnold from USC. Then again, Josh Allen has all the physical makeup you want in a quarterback, and many teams could see him having the higher upside. By drafting Josh Allen at second overall, the Giants could position themselves another year with Manning and then move forward with Allen afterward.

One of the many excuses for Josh Allen is that his receivers did him no favors. Putting him in New York would evaporate that excuse, and he could potentially develop into the quarterback that draft experts claim he can be. Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram are a very nice trio for a rookie quarterback to build rapport with. Just imagine, Allen rolls right and makes an incredible throw 60 yards down field to OBJ, and we all win our fantasy championships. It could be great.

Denver Broncos

Whatever is said about Josh Allen, the most natural landing spot seems like the Denver Broncos. Maybe it’s the fact that he’ll be throwing in the mountains some more, and no, that’s not some completion percentage joke. In reality, John Elway and the Broncos’ director of player personnel, Matthew Russell were at Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That was the bowl game where Josh Allen played in his last collegiate game. They saw him live, up-close and personal.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Elway and Russell were impressed by Allen. He did throw for 323 yards and three touchdowns while completing almost 59% of his passes. How much they’ve seen of Allen before the bowl game against Central Michigan? I can’t answer that. Here’s something that I can answer: Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler have had their fair chances to be “the guy” for the Broncos. It hasn’t panned out, and with the 5th overall selection, there’s a lot of speculation the Broncos will be drafting another quarterback. What happens with Paxton Lynch? Through four starts over the last two seasons he’s also been shaky. It’s certainly unknown what the Broncos will do for their starting quarterback position. However, it’s looking like it’s their biggest need entering the off-season.

Certainly, that opens the door for a player like Josh Allen. At Wyoming, he played in similar elements to what the Colorado weather brings. That might not necessarily be a good thing, but Allen has an arm that fits the Broncos’ offense. He would have strong weapons on the outside with Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas would easily be his consistent target, who would be fighting off consistent press coverage. Meanwhile, Sanders could become a consistent vertical threat, if healthy.

The biggest thing holding back Josh Allen is consistent ball placement. That inconsistency could create frustration within the offense, and eventually could lead to a change at the quarterback position. Drafting a quarterback high in the draft is always a calculated risk, but judging by the Broncos’ track record with the position, it’s a risk they’re willing to take.

New York Jets

When your team selects sixth overall in the NFL Draft in back-to-back years, you’re no different than the Cleveland Browns. You didn’t get better, nor did you get worse. For the New York Jets, that’s exactly the case. They’re picking sixth overall for the second straight year. As of now, Jamal Adams looks like the right pick for the Jets’ defense. Will they get the pick right this year? The last time they drafted a quarterback at sixth overall it was Mark Sanchez. We all know how that went.

That leads us to 2018 and the New York Jets back in the market for a quarterback. I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh McCown played another year, though I wouldn’t count on the 38-year-old to lead me beyond another sixth overall pick. If Josh Allen were on the board, the Jets seem like a potential landing spot. However, it’s not a good fit. Certainly, there’s plenty of promise in their wide receivers. Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse had above average years. Let’s not forget they have ArDarius Stewart and Quincy Enunwa waiting in the wings. Jets offensive coordinator John Morton is a football guy and only a football guy. It would be best for Josh Allen to leave his magic tricks at home. Meanwhile, Todd Bowles hasn’t developed a quarterback during his tenure (Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty), and it doesn’t seem likely for that to continue with a player of Allen’s skill-set.

Going to New York to play football isn’t necessarily a nightmare, but you’d better be prepared — not for the talent around you, but for the media. Everything you do will be scrutinized, some good and some bad. The flaws that Allen carries might be too much for the Jets to overcome. From the ball placement issues, poor pre-snap reads, and holding onto the football for too long, Allen’s issues will result in much more than just losing football games. He’ll become another Mark Sanchez, and in New Yor that’s more terrifying than a butt fumble.

Arizona Cardinals

Without having a quarterback on your roster, how could Josh Allen not be a fit? The Cardinals are a mess. Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians retired within days of each other. Larry Fitzgerald could potentially be on his way out, and John Brown is scheduled to hit the free agent market if they don’t re-sign him. This won’t so much be about how Josh Allen fits the Cardinals; this is more so about what coaches fit with Josh Allen and could make this a manageable offense.

Outside of David Johnson, the offense isn’t looking good for the Cardinals. What’s a way to show some promise? Go all-in and hire John DeFilippo (Philadelphia Eagles QB coach) as your head coach, then find a way to get Josh Allen in the 2018 NFL Draft. DeFilippo is one of the hot names on the market and could piece together an offense that would have David Johnson and the rookie quarterback as its focal point. The Eagles’ QB coach is part of the reason why Carson Wentz had an MVP-caliber season in 2017. The hope for the Cardinals is that he could potentially do that with Josh Allen. Unfortunately, the Cardinals don’t have DeFilippo, and they don’t have a head coach. Whoever the next head coach is, he will certainly be looking for his own guy.

The other potential head coach to pair up with Josh Allen could be Pat Shurmur. Currently, he’s the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. He’s done a fantastic job with Case Keenum, and he could do the same for Josh Allen. With David Johnson running the ball, Josh Allen could rely on his running game. He wouldn’t necessarily have to do everything himself, and that would help him get more comfortable. Just like with Keenum, that would open up the play-action, and Allen could find plenty of shots down field with his arm strength. However, he would still need to perform and put up reasonable numbers. More importantly, he would need to win football games and compete in the NFC West.

The Statistics

Between now and the draft, the most intriguing prospect will be Baker Mayfield. Right behind him will be Josh Allen. Throughout my film studies on Allen I saw potential, but I saw lot of work that needed to be done. Allen has all the upside in the world with how well he moves in the pocket and his natural throwing ability. However, he makes really poor decisions with the football, his footwork needs work, and he places the ball in really tough places for his receivers.

For example, Allen played against Iowa during the first game of the season and showed little promise. He was 23 of 40 for 174 yards and two interceptions, and it gets worse. Two weeks later, Allen played against Oregon and only completed NINE passes for a completion percentage of 37.5% and only 64 yards. We could analyze every game, but realistically, there’s a trend. His pre-snap reads are bad and he forces a ton of throws. On the season, Allen finished with only 1,812 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Fortunately for him, he played in three fewer games than he did in 2016 when he threw 15 interceptions.

Does that mean Josh Allen can’t be good? He certainly can be good. Take Deshaun Watson and Matt Ryan, for example. In their final collegiate seasons, Watson threw 17 interceptions and Ryan threw 19 interceptions. Anything is possible. However, this is when Josh Allen becomes a more interesting evaluation.

The Overall Evaluation

Jake Locker completed only 55.4% of his passes in his final season, Chade Henne completed 58.3%, and Matt Flynn completed 56.3% of his passes. Those are mid-round talent guys who went all over the board in their respective drafts. Locker was a first round pick, Henne was drafted in round two, and Flynn went in the seventh. Meanwhile, Matt Flynn only got paid because he torched the Detroit Lions for six touchdowns. What do those names have in common with Josh Allen? Allen only completed 56.3% of his passes this year. That matches what Matt Flynn did in 2006 for LSU, and he was a 7th round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Ideally, these are the teams listed above will look to draft Allen before anyone else. With Allen, there’s more risk than reward. I’ve accepted the fact that he will go in the first round and, more than likely, become a top-15 selection. Do I agree? No, I don’t, but odds are he’s going somewhere in that range. Where and when? Only time will tell.

 

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About the Author
Proud father. Wrote X's and O's before I wrote my own name. NFL Draft enthusiast since I can remember. Have been covering it since 2010. I said Sam Bradford was going to be a bust.

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