LARAMIE — There was a time not so long ago when few outside of the state of Wyoming were writing about Josh Allen. Obviously, that is no longer the case. To keep you up to date, here’s a compilation of what some in the national media — as well as local media in cities where Allen could be headed — are saying about the former Wyoming quarterback, who is projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
King had an interesting note Monday, which he implied would anger Cleveland Browns fans: “So in my rounds on the phone over the weekend, I heard this from a veteran college scout, a man who was one of the first to trumpet Carson Wentz as a high first-rounder during his final season at North Dakota State, on the fate of the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and on what Cleveland GM John Dorsey might do: ‘I believe there is no way Cleveland, at number one, will pass on (Wyoming quarterback) Josh Allen. This is Wentz reincarnated. Allen’s a perfect Dorsey quarterback. Just watch.’”
Given Cleveland’s one win over the last two seasons, the news could anger Wyoming fans as well. The Browns have two of the first four picks in the draft. Southern California’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen had not yet declared for the draft when King’s piece ran.
With the first 20 picks of the NFL Draft set in place, coin flips notwithstanding, The Athletic put out its second mock draft. It projects Allen to go fifth overall to the Denver Broncos — the third quarterback in the draft behind Rosen and Darnold.
“What they need: A quarterback. Two quarterbacks. However many quarterbacks it takes to avoid needing Brock Osweiler to start games. Denver also could stand to upgrade on both lines, and the linebacking corps could be thinned out via free agency.
“... Will this be the landing spot for Kirk Cousins, via free agency? Does John Elway have another trick up his sleeve? If not, the Broncos almost have to take a quarterback early. Allen has his detractors, and there are reasons to be skeptical of his weaknesses, but he’s still going to check off a lot of boxes.”
Elway attended the Cowboys’ Potato Bowl win in Boise, Idaho. (As did Arizona general manager Steve Keim.) The Broncos’ coaches will coach the North team in the Jan. 27 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which Allen is expected to attend. Cleveland’s coaches declined to coach in the exhibition game.
Speaking of Arizona, the Cardinals are in need of a quarterback, as Carson Palmer recently announced his retirement. Breer said Allen is the best fit for that system, though that could change with head coach Bruce Arians also retiring.
“They’ve wanted bigger quarterbacks the way their system runs,” Breer said. “The quarterback does take hits. He’s got to stand in there, and we’ve seen it with the quarterbacks that Bruce Arians has had, whether it’s Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Andrew Luck in Indianapolis or Carson Palmer ... in Arizona. The thing is, Bruce Arians isn’t there anymore, so we don’t know who the coach is, we don’t know what the offensive system is going to be like.
“Again, if it’s the same offensive system that they’ve been running for the last five years, then Josh Allen will be a perfect fit. But chances are, there’s going to be some change in Arizona in the way they do things with whoever the new coach is, and so it’s really hard to project what Arizona might do at that position without knowing who the coach is.”
Middlehurst-Schwartz projects Allen to go to the Buffalo Bills at the No. 22 spot in the upcoming draft. As a playoff team for the first time in 18 years, the Bills’ draft spot is not yet set in stone.
Writes Middlehurst-Schwartz, “Touted as a potential No. 1 overall pick before the season, (Allen) offered only glimpses of his potential as he completed 56.3% of his passes. Yet some team will look past the erratic ball placement and suspect field vision, instead focusing on the player he could become given his arm strength and 6-5, 230-pound build. Buffalo revealed its misgivings on Tyrod Taylor via a midseason benching, and just $1 million of the veteran’s 2018 salary is guaranteed.”
Middlehurst has four quarterbacks projected ahead of Allen: Darnold (No. 1), Rosen (No. 2), Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (No. 6) and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (No. 15).
Eric Galko, Sporting News
Galko notes that Allen’s career completion percentage of 56.2 with 600-plus attempts puts him in the unenviable company of Ryan Lindley, Derek Anderson, Christian Hackenberg, Kyle Boller and Jake Locker, among others.
Galko calls the issue of Allen’s poor supporting cast in 2017 “overblown.” Should Allen fall out of the top 10 in the draft, some teams Galko writes “might have substantial interest” in Allen are Pittsburgh (pick undetermined), the Chargers (17th pick) and “as a dark horse” Green Bay (13th or 14th pick).
Galko also reports that Allen attended the NFL Combine last year, even though he had already chosen to return to Wyoming at that point.
Might the Dolphins be another team interested in Allen? Even with head coach Adam Gase naming Ryan Tannehill the team’s starter in 2018, the Dolphins could still select a quarterback with the 11th pick in the draft, Jackson reports.
“Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, asked specifically about drafting a quarterback in the first round, said: ‘We’ve said we’ll always take the best player on our board. ... Every position, it doesn’t matter — quarterback, tackle, defensive tackle, everything’s wide open for us.’”
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan was asked on the show whether he would be open to trading up for a quarterback.
“The simple answer to that question is yes,” Maccagnan said. “If that was a player we felt strong about, we would have no qualms of potentially trying to go up and get him.”
The Jets have the sixth pick in the draft.