Josh Allen – Quarterback
School: University of Wyoming
Weight: 233 pounds
Josh Allen NFL Draft Profile
Josh Allen is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. His biggest asset is his arm strength, which one scout has touted as the “best arm he’s ever scouted.” However, there are many questions regarding his ability to succeed at the next level.
There were no Division I scholarships offered to Allen coming out of high school. Instead, he spent a season at Reedley Community College in California where he threw 26 touchdowns. He also hit a late growth spurt, filling out to his six-foot-five, 233-pound stature. That was enough to garner the interest from Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, who offered Allen his only FBS scholarship.
At the helm of the Cowboys, Allen boasted his best season in 2016, passing for 3,203 yards and 28 TDs. His 2017 campaign, on the other hand, left more to be desired. Just 16 scores and 1,812 yards over 11 games facing an average Mountain West Conference schedule.
Yet Allen still finds himself among the best-projected quarterbacks in the class, which includes Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has even had Allen taken at number one overall in each of his first two mock drafts. Does Allen have what it takes to be the first name called on draft day?
Allen’s natural ability throwing the football is a sight to be had. There are no throws that he cannot make. In the pocket, rolling out or under pressure, Allen can deliver strikes anywhere on the field. Even in the tightest of windows, Allen has the confidence and strength to zip the ball in there to his target. His raw potential is unmatched by any of the other quarterback prospects.
As big as he is, Allen has very good speed. He ran a 4.75 second 40 at the NFL Combine which can really open up the playbook for a creative offensive coach. It also offers him the option to escape the pass rush, keep plays alive and improvise. The availability to move and still make key throws makes him a very desired commodity in the modern NFL.
Allen is an imposing presence under center, which scouts and executives love. His height allows him to stand in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield over the enormous offensive and defensive linemen colliding around him. His large frame also leads teams to believe that Allen can take the routine poundings over the course of a season.
Although Allen didn’t play in a major conference, the pro-style offense he learned during his time at Wyoming lends itself well to the next level. Coach Bohl also recruited and coached Carson Wentz at North Dakota State before moving on to take the job in Laramie. If pressed into action early in his career, the learning curve should be minimal as Allen should have a moderate understanding of the complexities of NFL offensive and defensive schemes.
Allen has the arm strength to make all the throws, he just doesn’t complete all the throws. He only completed 56 percent of his passes in each of the last two seasons, which is a concern. He has the tendency to overthrow deep balls and lacks touch on intermediate routes. The reliance on his big arm makes him overconfident to force throws that aren’t there.
Allen is akin to a pitcher with a big fastball with little control and no other reliable pitches in his arsenal. He desperately needs to improve his accuracy over the top and develop that off-speed pitch underneath.
Allen’s footwork in the pocket is sloppy. He tends to make difficult and awkward throws when there is time to set his feet. His instincts avoiding the pass rush are questionable. There are times on the tape where he doesn’t feel the pressure and takes unnecessary sacks. Other times he senses a phantom rush and escapes the pocket when he needs to allow the play design to come together.
Playing in a non-power five conference, his statistics are uninspiring. Allen also struggled against better teams. Against Iowa and Oregon in 2017, he combined to throw for just a total of 238 yards at a 50 percent clip with three interceptions and no touchdowns. The hope is that better protection and offensive weapons in the pros will alleviate some of these issues.
Even with his frame, Allen has been plagued by injuries, specifically to his throwing shoulder. He broke his right collarbone in high school and then shattered it in seven places in his first season with the Cowboys. Last season, he was forced to miss the final two regular-season games with an AC joint sprain to that same shoulder. Allen and that bothersome shoulder are sure to get a lot of attention from team doctors at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Allen’s raw potential is unmatched in the draft. His elite arm talent, size, and athleticism are exactly what general managers are looking for in a franchise signal-caller. The flaws are there, though, and they could be devastating. Allen’s ability to adapt and develop at the next level will make or break his career. The player comparisons are, as such, all over the place. Allen is a true boom-or-bust prospect in every sense of the phrase.
NFL Player Comparison
Teams With Need At Quarterback
Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills