Josh Allen may not be the most accurate passer, but he (for one) thinks those concerns are being overblown.
At first glance, Josh Allen would be the prototype for an NFL quarterback. At 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, with arm strength to spare, it would seem to be a no-brainer for the Cleveland Browns to take him No. 1 overall on Thursday night.
But this is a deep quarterback class, and Allen carries question marks about his level of competition in college at Wyoming, and his lackluster showings when he did play against a Power 5 school.
Apart from physical tools and mental capacity, accuracy is a premium skill for an NFL quarterback. That’s where Allen falls short of standard, completing at or just slightly better than 56 percent of his passes in each of his two seasons as the starter at Wyoming.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio asked Allen about the prevalent concerns about his accuracy a few days ago, which he admitted bugs him.
“The inaccuracy issue,” Allen said. “Going back to college having a 56-percent completion percentage. Obviously, it’s not great. But I think that it’s a little blown out of proportion. I do think that I’m accurate. Jordan Palmer’s helped me out a lot throughout this process with getting my feet right. Once we did that [I’m] throwing the ball a little easier. The ball’s coming out and where it’s supposed to be.
I think if you look at the film at the times that I did miss, my feet were jacked,” Allen said. “Going back to our offensive system I was asked to do a lot of things within our system. Threw the ball downfield a lot. I am the one to admit that I didn’t put the ball where it needed to be all the time. But, you know, given the circumstances that we had in Wyoming, we won two back-to-back eight-win seasons. It was a place where we ended up winning football games. I think that I helped out in that manner putting the team in the best position to win football games.
Somewhere, there’s a line between completion percentage and accuracy where context (offensive system, drops by receivers, etc.) has to be taken into account. But Allen’s dismal completion rate dates back to high school in Firebaugh, California.
Browns general manager John Dorsey may have hinted at which quarterback he’ll take first overall, with a suggestion that hand size is important when looking at the position. Allen’s hands measured 10 and 1/8 inches at the NFL Combine, and he was the only signal caller with a measurement over 10 inches in this year’s class.
Dorsey’s words have to be taken as a potential smokescreen, but the team that drafts Allen will be buying into his upside as a boom-or-bust prospect. He seemed to show improved footwork at his Pro Day, which could be a precursor to a better completion rate at the next level and a better chance to fulfill that potential. But with much tighter throwing windows in the NFL, Allen has a lot to prove as a passer who will be able to keep the chains moving.