Rookie Rundown: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Rookie Rundown: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

(Brian Losness, USA TODAY Sports)

Wyoming junior quarterback Josh Allen enters the 2018 NFL Draft as one of the most polarizing prospects. He boasts physical tools offensive coordinators drool over, but accuracy and decision-making deficiencies leave much to be desired.

Allen was not recruited out of high school and required a stint at California’s Reedley Community College to draw the attention of former North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl as Wyoming’s head man. Bohl guided the early collegiate career of Carson Wentz, and Bohl’s offensive system helped make Wentz the No. 2 pick in 2016. This same system is pegged as being one of the reasons Allen is in the conversation of top quarterbacks in this year’s class.

Baker Mayfield draft profile

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 233 pounds
40 time: 4.75 seconds

Allen boasts prototypical size as a pocket passer, and his ability to escape the rush is as good as any man of his size. The pro-style offensive system has prepped his game for the next level, paving the way for Allen to lead all major prospects in frequency of drop-backs from under center (35.2 percent) in 2017.

He struggled against top-level competition and missed time with injuries, including the final two regular-season games of 2017. Allen returned for Wyoming’s bowl game against Central Michigan, tossing three scores in the win.

Josh Allen’s career stats at Wyoming (2015-17)

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
TD
2015
4
6
66.7
51
8.5
0
0
3
40
0
2016
209
373
56.0
3203
8.6
28
15
143
512
7
2017
152
270
56.3
1812
6.7
16
6
92
204
5

Pros

  • Ridiculously strong arm with elite arm talent — few players in the NFL have a cannon like Allen.
  • Ideal build for withstanding hits and standing tall in the pocket to deliver the ball
  • Elusive in the pocket with the ability to tuck the ball and run
  • Experience in an NFL-style offense (play-action, drops from center). Required to survey the field and make read progressions
  • Rare improvisational skills to create big plays out of nothing
  • Experienced playing in inclement weather conditions
  • Intriguing upside possibilities

Cons

  • Accuracy is a major concern (56.1 percent passer over two starting seasons). Taking too many deep shots and throwing low-percentage throws contributes to this figure, but neither are great excuses.
  • Injury history, including broken right clavicle in 2015
  • Not a natural surveyor of the field — anticipatory skills are poor, at best. Timing-based offensive systems will expose him in a major way.
  • At times, too willing to tuck it and run, which leaves him throwing off-balanced if a receiver shakes free.
  • Too reliant on arm strength, and it gets him in trouble
  • Flopped vs. tougher competition (Iowa, Oregon tapes are ugly)
  • Questionable football IQ

Fantasy outlook

Anticipation and timing largely cannot be taught, so no matter what, Allen’s ceiling is limited. The offensive system matters more for a player like Allen than a dink-and-dunk passer. He has some Ben Roethlisberger in him, and if Allen’s desire to create the big play rather than take what is given to him can be subdued, his accuracy stats can improve. He never will be Drew Brees in terms of completion percentage, so it comes down to a coaching staff that is capable of putting him in smart situations.

Fans of Allen will point to Wentz as the ideal NFL comparison and hopeful career trajectory, while his detractors see a Joe Flacco in best-case scenario and a turnover machine on the other end of the spectrum.

Allen’s feet will help his fantasy value, and there’s a potential he is a volume passer on a bad team — a situation that can lead to big yardage and TD totals with equally high turnover figures. His ascension to fantasy starter could take a few years, if it ever materializes.

Possible landing spots include: Denver, Miami, Washington, Arizona, Cleveland, Buffalo, both New York franchises, and the Los Angeles Chargers.

It will be a monumental surprise if Allen wasn’t a top-five selection in April’s first round. For fantasy purposes, Allen is a worthwhile flier in full-retention leagues and can be ignored in single-year drafts.

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