Amid concerns, the Bills select Josh Allen
The Bills surprised nobody by moving up from #12 to #7 during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, but perhaps some were by the quarterback they decided on, Josh Allen. The Wyoming product is the first QB ever taken in the top 10 by the Bills.
The Bills traded #12 and both of their second-round picks (#53 and #56) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the #7 pick. Tampa also gave Buffalo their seventh-round pick this year.
Many Bills fans didn’t hide their feelings before and after the pick, as it seems a large portion of the fanbase would have preferred another QB, specifically Josh Rosen, who was on the board at #7 when the Bills picked Allen. The Arizona Cardinals ended up trading up to #10 with the Oakland Raiders for Rosen.
Allen and Rosen were two of four QB’s picked in the top 10 — a new record for the draft. The Browns took Baker Mayfield at #1, while the New York Jets went with Sam Darnold at #3. The final pick in the first round was Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, whom the Baltimore Ravens picked by trading back up to #32.
The Bills weren’t done, however, later trading back up with the Ravens for the #16 pick and taking Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The Bills gave up #22, #65 and #154 and did not have to part ways with their 2019 first-round pick.
While it seems most fans enjoy the Edmunds pick, the same can’t be said for the Allen selection.
Despite the accolades for his arm strength (which some have called the best in the draft) and athleticism, the biggest knock is his completion percentage at Wyoming (56% his two years as the starter in Laramie).
Allen’s post-draft comments on fans looking up his completion percentage at Wyoming were simply, “Don’t do it. Trust me.”
Allen is more along the lines of a gunslinger, according to his now former head coach at Wyoming, Craig Bohl, who compared him to a Brett Favre type, while another former QB of Bohl’s, Carson Wentz, he described more along the lines of Peyton Manning, as he spoke to WGR550‘s draft show with John Murphy after the selection. Carson was coached by Bohl at North Dakota State.
The morning before Thursday’s draft, news surfaced of old tweets Josh Allen made as far back as 2012 and 2013, which depict a more immature person. While Twitter was buzzing negatively over the old tweets, that news didn’t sway the Bills decision of taking him.
“We had to do our due diligence,” said Bills GM Brandon Beane. “Terry and Kim Pegula were involved in this process and we talked to many around Josh, and this is not who he is today,” added Beane.
Allen joins a QB depth chart that includes former Cincinnati Bengals backup AJ McCarron and last year’s backup, Nate Peterman. The thought is that Allen doesn’t need to start right away and the team can go with McCarron in Week 1.
The concern on Allen is understandable. In a league where it pays off to thread the needle and thrive on anticipation, a career completion percentage just below 57% is problematic.
However, Allen does have excellent traits that can translate to a Pro Bowl-caliber QB in the NFL, despite a portion of fans already writing him off as a setback for the franchise.
Allen’s arm strength is probably the strongest out of the five QB’s taken on Thursday night and his ability to escape the pocket and make plays on the run should work in his favor for Buffalo. He’s also used to playing in cold weather with rain and snow, which happens frequently in Laramie, Wyoming.
If a fan merely pays attention to the talk on social media, you can make an assumption that Allen isn’t worth the #7 pick and has bust written all over him. A negative narrative has seemed to run wild in regards to Allen, even before Thursday. There’s no denying there’s risk and that he could not be the QB Beane and Sean McDermott thinks he’ll be, but his positives on the field shouldn’t be overlooked by fans.
Whether it turns out to be a good pick or not, the Bills for the first time in a long time have a QB prospect that has all the physical tools of what a franchise QB should have.