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Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

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Poinsettia Bowl - BYU v Wyoming Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Welcome to the very first GGN Scouting Report of 2018! To kick things off, I decided to start with a bang by taking a look at one of the most polarizing and discussed prospects in the draft, especially among Jets fans: Josh Allen. Many experts are projecting Allen to be selected at the top of the first round in spite of flaws that have many questioning why he is rumored to be in such high demand. There have also been a few reports (which we all know are very possibly meaningless) that the Jets have a lot of interest in Allen. So, I decided to look into his game and see if the fans are right to be so down on his current status of a possible first-rounder.

Personal/Physical

Born: May 21, 1996 (age 22 on opening week)

Hometown: Firebaugh, CA

Height: 6’5

Weight: 233

Career Stats

2015: 2 GP, 4-6 (67%), 51 yards (8.5 Y/A), 0 TD, 0 INT, 138.1 rating (NCAA)

2016: 14 GP, 209-373 (56%), 3203 yards (8.6 Y/A), 28 TD, 15 INT, 144.9 rating

2017: 11 GP 152-270 (56%), 1812 yards (6.7 Y/A), 16 TD, 6 INT, 127.8 rating

I watched the following games from Allen’s 2017 season: Iowa, Hawaii, Utah State, Boise State, Colorado State, Central Michigan.

Positives

  • Very good size for the position
  • Impressive in short to intermediate range (10 to 20 yards), throws with tremendous power and solid accuracy
  • Size makes him very tough to bring down in the open field, did well in short yardage rushing situations
  • Underrated athleticism, can make a lot of defenders miss as a runner
  • Good escapability, very hard to bring down for a sack
  • Quick to recognize pressure up the middle and utilize escapability to become a threat outside of the pocket
  • Has a gunslinger mentality, but will make some very impressive throws on the move
  • Improved field vision over course of season. Started off rarely looking past first read, seemed to become much more adept at going through progressions in later games
  • Does his best work inside the numbers as a pocket passer
  • A nice mix of snaps in shotgun and under center while throwing a low amount of pre-determined throws. He certainly did not play in a typical high-octane, gadgety type of college offense at Wyoming

Negatives

  • Poor career statistics that do not project well to NFL; players with similar numbers have not found success at promising rates (see: Hackenberg, Christian)
  • Missed last two games of 2017 with shoulder injury
  • Showcased some sloppy footwork on downfield throws
  • Makes a lot of risky throws into tight coverage despite not showing the consistent touch to complete them at an acceptable level
  • Very slow to recognize pressure off the edge. This is a big one, was a consistent issue from his first game of 2017 to his last
  • Panicked thrower in the pocket when under pressure
  • Inaccurate and unproductive with the deep ball
  • Not a very good anticipation/touch thrower
  • Can be alarmingly inaccurate on screen passes, especially earlier in the season
  • Can hesitate to throw the ball away outside the pocket. Led to some picks lofted in play and unnecessary sacks

Other Notes

  • Was absolutely playing with a struggling offensive line
  • All QBs deal with drops but Allen definitely dealt with some below average receiver play
  • Folded against higher level competition
  • Suffered from poor offensive line and quite a few drops against Iowa (including a dime of a should-be touchdown), but against a good defense still played very poorly missing a lot of easy throws with poor footwork and forcing some bad ones.
  • Not a very good game against Hawaii. Finished with an excellent game winning pass in OT, but his 9-19 for 92 yard statline is certainly reflective of his performance in this game. Highly inaccurate without his usual rushing impact.
  • Played a pretty good game against Utah State. Took a lot of pressure and mostly struggled when he did, but when given time made some really nice touch throws over the top, something I didn’t see him do much of overall.
  • Had a so-so game against Boise State. Had quite a few impressive runs and threw the ball well within about 10-15 yards, but took some bad sacks and was poor down the field.
  • Played a really solid game against Colorado State. Made a profound impact running the ball and made some money throws in the intermediate range, even with part of this game taking place in heavy rain. Clutch finish as well.
  • Put on a show against Central Michigan to close the year. Showcased everything that makes him a viable quarterback prospect.

Film

This play is a mix of good Josh and bad Josh. He shows good ability to sense and escape the pressure, but rushes this throw outside the pocket, coming up way short.

Here is the inverse of the previous play, in the same game. Allen breaks an ankle with a very impressive escape, then sets and fires a bullet in the perfect spot for the first down.

This is Allen at his very best. Reads the field, senses and escapes the pressure with athleticism, makes an accurate throw for the touchdown.

Here is a mix of a few of Allen’s poor traits leading to a terrible play. He holds the ball way too long after escaping the pocket and while under pressure makes an awful throwaway attempt that gets picked off. While he can make some electric plays outside the pocket as demonstrated above, he had way too many instances like this one where he failed to admit defeat and just toss the ball straight into the stands.

Allen will sense the rush when it is in his face and get out of there, but one of his major issues that I noticed was that he had no feel for the edge rushers. Here are two examples. On the first play he just has no feel for the pressure whatsoever and nearly tosses a panicked interception. On the second, the right tackle gets beat but Allen holds the ball way too long.

You can’t telegraph throws like the two below. Quarterbacks who stick in the NFL very, very rarely make mistakes of this variety. Young QBs who struggle mightily in the league make these throws a lot.

Back to the good, here is Allen’s bread and butter. An absolute laser placed on the money for the touchdown. The intermediate range between the numbers is his hot zone.

Great catch, but this is simply a dime. Allen drops this one right in the bucket. Throws like this are just plain arm talent.

Another example of a simply talented throw. Allen really struggled in the season opener against a strong Iowa defense, but here he steps up and throws a 45 yard dime off of one foot that gets dropped.

Allen does have the physical tools and talent to be an upper echelon running quarterback. Check out this string of four Allen runs where Colorado State had no answer. Allen converts a key third down and sets up a touchdown on first and goal, then picks up two firsts to ice the game. He combines his size with above-average elusiveness for a quarterback.

Other GGN Views:

Matt (GangGreenMag): (In response to whether or not he is an Allen fan) Not at all. Unless he is the kind of guy to make history. There has never been a QB with his adjusted completion rating that has succeeded in the NFL. Even Favre (even though his completion % was low) had a passable adjusted comp %.

Draft Grade: 2nd/3rd Round

I’m not high enough on Allen to think he is worth a top six pick. I would be a bit disappointed if the Jets took a risk on him that high over taking a potential star edge rusher, corner, or especially another QB.

I’m also not down enough on him to throw my TV out the window and declare he is doomed if they do make him their guy at the top of the first round. He has a lot of flaws that we have seen previous NFL busts enter the league with and fail because of. Those issues are what make him too risky of a pick at the top of the draft over a more surefire player at another position. However, I can clearly see his upside and understand why teams desperate for a QB (like the Jets) would take a shot up high.

You can laud anybody for being 6’5 and looking the part, but Allen actually used his size and arm to showcase potential. He’s a high-ceiling, very low-floor kind of guy, but I think Allen is being written off a little too easily. Again, I think the risk is too high for a top six pick, and as of right now I would not be a supporter of that move. However, this is not a Hackenberg situation where you need a 25 minute in-depth film study blaming coaches and O-linemen and explaining why a guy tapping his helmet like Tom Brady shows he might be successful (this is a knock on Hackenberg, not the video). Allen has visible tools to work with, and shouldn’t be tossed aside even if a team takes a huge risk to get him high in the draft.

Poll

What draft grade would you give Josh Allen?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Top Five
    (64 votes)
  • 39%
    First round past top five
    (327 votes)
  • 38%
    2nd-3rd
    (317 votes)
  • 11%
    4th-5th
    (91 votes)
  • 2%
    Lower than 5th
    (20 votes)
819 votes total Vote Now