Why Josh Allen May End Up Being The Best Quarterback From The 2018 Draft Class

Why Josh Allen May End Up Being The Best Quarterback From The 2018 Draft Class

Image for postPhoto by Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Last year?s NFL Draft represented the best QB Draft class since 2015. Guys like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen were all viewed as slam dunk franchise quarterbacks. But there was one name that was unique from the rest. Josh Allen.

Allen was the biggest ?boom-or-bust? prospect of that 2018 class. Blessed with immense physical gifts and eye-popping arm strength, Allen had all the potential in the world. Keyword being potential. Allen?s inaccuracy issues left a lot of draft scouts uneasy at night.

Whoever was to draft Josh Allen knew they would have a project on their hands. But developed correctly, you could be sure a star would blossom. The Bills felt the positives outweighed the negatives as they made Allen the 7th overall pick. Well, looks like they got that one right.

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The Golden Arm

When we think of the biggest arms in the NFL the first names that come to mind are Pat Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, even Matthew Stafford has his arm (pun intended) in the discussion. Those guys can certainly make big plays, but we shouldn?t overlook the velocity and distance that Josh Allen can throw a ball.

Wow?just wow. Throwing it a jaw-dropping 77 yards, Allen has a rocket for an arm. Coming out of college, Josh Allen?s arm strength was praised by scouts across the NFL. But obviously, there?s a difference between throwing it on a practice field, and in a game.

With the pocket breaking down on him, Josh Allen stays poised. I can?t even to begin to fathom how he got this ball out of there so quickly with bodies all around him. Allen shows off the immense arm strength and quick release he possesses. Allen fires the ball 50 yards down the field, accurately, and the result was a 75 yard Robert Foster TD.

Josh Allen is a gunslinger at heart. All throughout the season, we saw the promise of this big arm. You can teach a guy to read coverages and make decisions, you can?t teach that arm. Allen?s arm is a rare specimen. It?s his no.1 trait, albeit not his only.

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The Legs Nobody Knew He Had

Allen was drafted into the NFL because of his big arm and size. But to everyone?s surprise, it?s been his rushing numbers that have the NFL in awe. With a 4.75 40 time, Allen came in as only a ?solid athlete,? but turn on the tape and you?ll question why Josh Allen isn?t playing running back.

Josh Allen did this the entirety of his rookie year. When the pocket would break down, Allen would scramble for big chunk gains. The wheels on this guy are insane, he shows incredible burst, straight line speed, and elusiveness that nobody knew he had. Allen uses his big 6?5? 237 lbs frame to finish off runs.

At first, it was just the scrambles that Allen was piling up yards on. Then the Bills? started using Allen in more creative ways. With 0 run game to speak of, Buffalo made Allen their de facto running back. He led the Bills in rushing yards (631) and TDs (8) despite only playing in 12 games.

It was almost laughable, instead of handing the ball to a running back, the Bills simply opted to punch it in with Allen any time they got near the endzone. You can?t argue with the results. Averaging a blistering 7.1 YPC, Allen was electric as a runner.

After missing 4 games in the middle of the season, Allen returned and the Bills decided to commit to him. Centering the offense around their young QB, Allen torched defenders on the ground with a 54?476?5 line in those final 6 games. Stretch that over a 16 game pace and you get 1269 RUSHING yards and 9 RUSHING TDs. Did I mention those are rushing stats? Allen averaged 8.81 YPC during that stretch. Ridiculous.

Image for postPhoto by Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Is He Too Inaccurate?

Despite all the great things Allen did on the ground, his abilities as a passer left a lot to be desired. Allen held an abysmal 52.8% completion percentage. And unlike his rushing numbers, the passing stayed at about the same place after returning from injury.

If you look up the stats, the advanced stats, the metrics, whatever you want, they?ll tell you Josh Allen?s inaccuracy woes are legit. Every stat will support the argument that he was not a good passer. Still, there?s something else to be considered.

You?d love for your quarterback to complete 70, 75, 80 percent of his passes. Well, you?d also love a million dollars. Did you know Tom Brady has never completed more than 68.9% of his passes in a season? Neither has Peyton Manning. Or Aaron Rodgers. Even Pat Mahomes was at 66.0% in his historic MVP season last year.

The guys who go into the 70s are always reliant on the short passing game, slants, crossing routes, bubble screens inflate that completion percentage. The guys who push the ball down the field and take chances are the best QBs. The conservative ones might look good on paper, but they don?t make an impact the way elite QBs do.

Now Josh Allen?s sub 50% completion percentage isn?t going to inspire confidence in anyone, but there?s a reason it was so bad. Allen had virtually no one to throw to. His four leading receivers were Zay Jones, Robert Foster, Kelvin Benjamin, and Jason Croom. Three of those guys were barely on NFL rosters to begin the season and the 4th has a big ?BUST? label over his head.

Completion percentage can so often be a skewed stat. You can throw to a wide open receiver and he?ll drop it. You can put up a well-thrown 50?50 ball, but your receiver isn?t talented enough to come down with it. If no ones open you just have to throw the ball away. You could check off just about every one of these problems for Allen?several times.

And it certainly didn?t help that Allen was playing behind the 7th worst offensive line in the NFL. They gave him no time to throw, and the lack of a run game only made things worse. When you have a young rookie QB, you have to do everything you can to make things easy. Sufficeth to say, they weren?t. It?s no wonder Allen?s passing numbers look so bleak.

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Why You Should Believe

Things were difficult for Allen, but he made the best out of a bad situation. Allen showed some progression as the season went on. In the first 6 games, Allen spewed out a horrendous 2:5 TD to INT ratio before sputtering out an 8:7 TD to INT ratio to close out the year. It was a slight bump in numbers, although negligible, it was an improvement nonetheless.

After being sacked 21 times in his first 6 games, Allen was sacked only 7 times in the last 6 games of the season. It wasn?t an improvement from that tumultuous offensive line, Allen started to get smarter. Allen knew his receivers were incapable of creating separation. As he began to understand NFL defenses Allen began to scramble a lot more, which created those gaudy rushing numbers.

As the season went on, things really started to slow down for the rookie. He seized the rare opportunities he got to make a play. When the line would hold up and his receivers would get open, Allen would hit the mark.

Josh Allen is just more than a big arm. You see here, when given the time and opportunity, he can make some pinpoint accurate passes. Allen shows off his talent with a savvy back shoulder throw to Robert Foster who gets good body position to catch the TD. These back shoulders are staple plays for the league?s elite.

This one really had me in awe. At first glance, it might look like an inaccurate pass by Josh Allen on the slant, but it?s really a next level throw. Instead of leading his receiver Zay Jones inside, into the teeth of the defense, Allen hits him on the outside shoulder. Jones catches it on his off shoulder and uses his YAC ability to run for the TD.

It?s these sort of plays that really show you Allen?s development through the year. From the guy who threw 2 picks and took 5 sacks his first game, to the maestro who piled up 5 TDs in his final game as a rookie, Allen showed serious strides last year.

Image for postPhoto by Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

How Does The Rest of The Team Look?

For Buffalo, the issues were clear. With no run game, no receivers, and no O-line, you get no wins. The Bills knew they needed to surround their franchise QB with the pieces to succeed, and they?ve done that with some solid additions.

The battle starts in the trenches, the Bills spent a 2nd round pick on Cody Ford, one of the top offensive lineman prospects in the Draft. They?ve signed seven different offensive linemen in free agency which includes top 5 center, Mitch Morse. With promising LT Dion Dawkins still in the fold, this is a much-improved O-line.

But of course, Josh Allen still needs guys to throw to. While Bills? fans were hoping for some shiny new toys in the draft, Buffalo went defense heavy. But in a loaded tight end draft, they did spend a 3rd round pick on Dawson Knox. Knox is an athletic pass catcher who saw his college numbers suffer playing behind A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf at Ole Miss. You can be sure the 6?4? 254 lbs Knox is going to be a prime target for Josh Allen next year.

The Bills made two very underrated signings at wide receiver. Slot man Cole Beasley has a propensity to get open and make things easy for his QB. John Brown is a speedster who?s been lacking that big armed QB just about his entire career. With a 2nd year leap expected from Robert Foster, this is a young receiving core on the rise.

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What About Baker?

This is no knock on Baker Mayfield. The no. 1 overall pick from last year?s Draft has the making of a future star in this league. Even Sam Darnold has a positive trajectory to his career. Josh Allen is just something special. The size, the arm, the athleticism, you can?t teach these sort of traits.

How you perform as a rookie can tell a lot about a player. It?s a generally accurate correlation, but a correlation nonetheless. After Robert Griffin III?s ROY campaign take a look at how his career has spiraled out. Or even Eddie Lacey for that matter. This is not to say Mayfield is going to be a bust. Make no mistake, I love Baker Mayfield. He?s going to be a star in his own right, but Josh Allen has the making of a true superstar.

Image for postPhoto by Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

?You Can?t Teach Experience?

Perhaps OC Brian Daboll said it best. Daboll, who?s been tasked with developing Josh Allen has been quite impressed by what the rookie did last season. You really can?t teach experience, there?s no supplement for it, the in-game speed can?t be replicated on a practice field. And now Allen has that experience under his belt.

As the season went on we saw what the experience did for Allen. He became smarter, made better decisions, he was simply playing at a much higher level. Allen has 3 game winning drives to his name. An impressive mark considering he?s only won 5 games. The craziest part? Allen would have 4 game winning drives if Charles Clay didn?t drop this wide open TD.

I guess it?s only fitting that Josh Allen does something spectacular and his teammates let him down. Even so, Josh Allen blames no one but himself. It?s that sort of mentality, it?s the accountability, the leadership, you love to see your QB shoulder the blame, put it on himself. The maturity really stands out with the young man.

Allen is a high-quality person. He?s a hard worker, we?ve already seen how he?s improved in 2018. Allen is something special. The arm talent is rare. The athleticism is explosive. But the smarts, the decision making is only getting better by the day. Josh Allen is going to work hard and shatter everyone?s expectations.

All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Pro Football Focus.


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