The Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s all you need to know about Allen, including our grade.
The Buffalo Bills identified quarterback as a serious need this offseason. They had to move up twice, but were able to get their guy at No. 7 in a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buffalo now has the powerful right arm of Josh Allen of the Wyoming Cowboys.
He’s big. He’s strong. He throws the ball far. We all know about these things because they’ve been played up. We’re going to start with these but address little things beyond them. Allen has a rocket and will definitely be able to throw the ball in the NFL. His big arm will allow him to throw in any environment and his ability to stand tall in the pocket will mean he shouldn’t get too many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Some things that are important to consider are how his big arm should make safeties respect his passing game a lot more. This will clear out the box a little more, helping improve the running game.
He does other things at a high level as well. His pump fake is outstanding and he has been able to free up receivers with it. Also, because he was running for his life at Wyoming, he has become a great improviser. Once flushed out of the pocket, he immediately begins directing his receivers and can quickly release the ball once they are free.
He has major accuracy issues. He completed less than 60% of his passes in college, and generally that hasn’t bode well for quarterback’s transitioning to the NFL. Some of this can be derived from trying to do too much and some of it is from a lack of anticipation. He has spent a lot of time making up for a lack of anticipation with a big arm, but that won’t get it against tougher competition than the Mountain West conference.
Allen has said that he thinks his accuracy issues derive from inconsistent footwork. It was something he focused on with quarterbacks coach Jordan Palmer this off season and showed improvement in at his pro day. Hopefully this will let him be more comfortable in the pocket and feel less of a need to scramble.
Lastly, his touch passes could use some work. A strong arm will only get him so far if he can’t throw the ball with touch. We have seen Tom Brady have success without a strong arm by making touch throws and timing throws. Allen has to improve this part of his game.
Yes, there are accuracy issues with Allen, but that powerful right arm of his could cut through that harsh Western New York wind. Allen may need to wait a year, but may have the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft. He could also bust in Buffalo, a team that still hasn’t replaced Jim Kelly.