Buffalo Bills: Coming to grips with the Josh Allen pick
Over a week removed from the selection of Josh Allen as the Buffalo Bills’ franchise quarterback, it is time to accept that he is the face of this franchise – good or bad.
One week ago at this time I was still in disbelief that the Buffalo Bills had taken the one quarterback I didn’t want them to. I have been all aboard the Josh Rosen bandwagon for months because I love what he brings to the table in so many different areas. Instead, the team opted to go with Josh Allen and when I heard “Allen” and not “Rosen” come out of Roger Goodell’s mouth, I was in awe.
I get why the Bills took Allen. He comes off as a guy who all he wants to do is throw a football and win games. He is an athletic freak and has every tool imaginable to become an elite quarterback. Plus he can play in the cold weather because he is tall and can throw far (doesn’t exist – read here).
For me, those tools are scarier than they are appealing. Yes he is tall and big at 6-foot-5 and around 230 pounds. He can probably throw a ball 100 yards and he runs very well and can evade pass rushers. He can pull plays out of nowhere and somehow deliver a perfect ball down field over coverage after running to his right and breaking three tackles.
But can he get off his first read and deliver the ball to a receiver on a slant route over the middle? That I am not so sure of.
He can make spectacular plays, but what about the simple play? I don’t need him to throw it 70 yards every play, or even evade an oncoming rush. I need him to consistently move the ball down the field and make the right decision will the ball on time and with accuracy. I need him to find his receivers and put them in the best position to make a play and gain yards afterwards.
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I have had these questions about Allen throughout the draft process, but now he is officially a member of the Buffalo Bills. That is the reality and now a week removed – I am coming to grips with it.
While Allen did not play well against bad competition and was even worse against power five schools, he had a sub-par supporting cast around him at Wyoming. Also, his footwork wasn’t always the best which led to accuracy issues. Both of those things can be addressed and improved.
I have read that Allen has been working on his footwork and if he can fix that it should help with his accuracy. Consistently throwing from a solid platform should allow him to make better throws and not solely get by on pure arm strength – which can lead to turnovers.
Also, I hope the team continues to surround him with talent as his career goes on to give him the supporting cast he needs to succeed.
Some videos came out this week from Allen’s time at the Senior Bowl and the highlighted how special he can be. This is an example of something I want to see. Small area, lots of bodies, going through progression and delivering a beautiful pass for a score:
Then there is this:
That sort of upside is exactly why they drafted Allen. When he can put it together, he is elite. The size, arm strength, athletic ability – all of it. I am starting to shift to the belief that he may not need as much work as I thought he might, but he just needs more help around him than I originally realized.
All of the moves that Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have made also make me a believer in this move. It isn’t necessarily fair to love every move from Beane in acquiring picks and players and then all of a sudden lose faith in him when he has spent an entire year and countless hours on this one pick. He and McDermott must see something and if their other moves are celebrated, this one should at least have some time to see if it should be too.
In terms of seeing Allen play right away, that is a tough decision. Obviously we all want to see what he can do, but is he ready? Can he come in and adapt from a small conference to the NFL? That may be possible as he ran a pro-style offense and his coach was Carson Wentz’s coach in college and Wentz also came from a smaller school with not the highest of competition level as Wentz was in the FCS.
In just two years Wentz went from projected third-string QB during training camp to Super Bowl winner. By no means am I saying that is the plan or I am remotely expecting that, but it could be a similar situation for Allen in terms of starting quicker than expected.
There are so many variables going into this pick, and one week later and I’m still not crazy about the pick. However, I am getting on board with it. I think that Allen deserves a chance and should have every opportunity to prove it.
Next: Top 5 quarterbacks in franchise history
For now, let’s get through rookie mini-camp next week before we anoint Josh Allen the next Ryan Leaf or the next Aaron Rodgers.