Editor’s Note: To help you dominate your rookie drafts, this series will feature a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of over 40 dynasty rookie draft prospects and run all through the month of May and even into June. We’ll cover all the premier prospects but also give you critical information on some of the lesser known talents. All of these rookie updates will be loaded into our ever-evolving 2018 Rookie Draft Guide – the ultimate resource for dynasty enthusiasts all over the world.
Name: Josh Allen
Born: May 21st, 1996
Pro Team: Buffalo Bills
College Team: Wyoming Cowboys
Draft Status: Round 1, 7th overall
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 237 lbs.
- Hand Size: 10 ⅛”
- 40 Time: 4.75
- Bench Press: N/A
- Vertical Jump: 33.5”
- Broad Jump: 119”
- Short Shuttle: 4.4
- Three Cone Drill: 6.9
- Throw Speed: 1,923 feet per second
- Shorts: Looks good in them
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- May have the best arm in the NFL
- Ideal body for an NFL QB
- Very athletic, especially for his size
- Quick release
- Can make any throw with ease
- Played in a pro-style offense
- Capable outside the pocket and as a runner
- Very difficult to bring down
- Misses almost as many throws as he hits
- Relies on his arm strength too much
- Looks lost at times
- Doesn’t exhibit great touch
- Awful at making anticipation throws
- Already bad accuracy gets worse when on the move
- Far too many bad interceptions
- Played a low level of competition and struggled mightily when facing teams you’ve heard of
In today’s NFL, high-first-round pedigree quarterbacks don’t spend too much time on the bench. On a team whose Vegas win total is six*, there are few 2018 team results driven reasons to keep Allen off the field, as they aren’t likely to return to the playoffs following a surprise 2017 berth.
There is a more practical reason to let the kid marinate, though – he is as raw as a fresh rug burn. Aside from the much-ballyhooed accuracy issues, Allen struggles to diagnose plays, doesn’t always seem to know where his receivers are, or should be, and there are myriad instances of forcing throws into coverage he doesn’t seem to recognize. A year of coaching and playing behind veteran free agent acquisition A.J. McCarron may be his best path to NFL success.
*You’ll have to lay -130 on the under, which means you are betting $130 to win $100. That’s Vegas’ way of saying the under a pretty sizeable favorite.
The aforementioned McCarron is likely to open training camp penciled in as the starter, with the emphasis on penciled. A career backup to this point, the former Alabama signal caller is getting paid $5 million per year almost entirely due to a 2015 stint that saw him post a 6:2 TD:INT ratio and 66% completion rate over four starts in relief of an injured Andy Dalton. 2015 was a long time ago and McCarron, a fifth round pick, was never a prospect anybody projected to be a long-term starter. His contract isn’t lucrative enough to give any indication the Bills think otherwise.
Even if McCarron does start the season under center, the Bills won’t be afraid to cast him aside in favor of Allen whenever it is they deem the rookie ready for primetime.
If you are expecting immediate success, prepare to be disappointed. Even the most ardent Allen supporter is aware of his limitations. There shouldn’t be much of an NFL or fantasy impact early-on, even if he does get the nod Week 1.
If I had to lay out a projection for 2017, it would be something like six starts, 100/180 passing for a 56% completion rate, six touchdowns, nine interceptions, and maybe 120 yards rushing.
When analytics folks universally dislike a quarterback with prototypical size and arm strength, I expect the film community to band together and fight back, but with Allen, even many-a-tape grinder is leery as to his NFL prospects. That’s a big red flag for me.
Allen’s defenders pull out Dan Marino’s abhorrent college completion percentage or Brett Favre’s raw, big armed play when he came into the league. Then they bombard you with tales of how awful Allen’s supporting cast was, or how he threw fewer short passes than players like Lamar Jackson (which is untrue). Any time your defense of a prospect is to compare him to a player who was drafted 35 years ago or to one of the most unique players of a generation, your case has holes.
Perhaps the thing that bothers me most with concern to Allen is when people say he has the highest upside in the class. To me, that is like saying Usain Bolt has the most upside at wide receiver. Theoretical upside is not the same thing as achievable, real world upside. The highest ceiling argument doesn’t hold water with Allen simply because he has so far to go to reach that level. It doesn’t matter if the peak is Everest if you have to start in the Grand Canyon.
The cliff notes version of the above is I don’t think Allen has a long-term future in the league. From my film work, the excellent analytics work done by sites like Rotoviz, and the opinions of folks I trust, I don’t see a player who will make an impact in the NFL. I know many of you will disagree with this take, and Allen certainly has the tools to make me look stupid, but if there are 10 Josh Allen’s in 10 parallel universes, nine of them don’t come close to living up to being the seventh overall pick.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISONS
Kyle Boller is the name that gets tossed around most often when looking for an Allen comp. If you read Chris Mortensen’s Boller write up from this March 18, 2003 article, you’ll understand why. The similarities are eerie, right down to the whole throwing passes from his knees. This isn’t to say Allen’s future is sure to mirror the former Ravens’ first round picks’ career, but there are far more Kyle Bollers in NFL history than Brett Favres.
ROOKIE DRAFT ADVICE
I recently passed on Allen at 3.08 and 4.03 in favor of Jaylen Samuels and Mark Walton, respectively. This isn’t to say he is undraftable in one-QB leagues, but I’m not likely to pull the trigger even when the board is nothing but dart throws. In a superflex or two-QB draft, you’re probably going to have to burn a late first to ensure you snag Bills’ rookie. I’d much rather take a shot elsewhere and let another owner gamble the Allen in our universe is the one out of 10 that pans out.
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