Most NFL draft analysts believe there is between four and six quarterbacks (Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph) who could end up as first round picks in 2018. One of these quarterbacks could potentially have a more productive career if he considered switching positions.
All of the quarterbacks above, except one, have shown progression as a passer year over year. Passing is a critical component of quarterbacking. Most successful professional quarterbacks were productive passers in college, when they were playing weaker competition. Regardless of their situation, they should not have a problem regularly completing over 60% of their throws, racking up nearly 300 yards per game and putting the football in the end-zone with some frequency.
One of the quarterbacks above threw under 200 yards six times this year and under 100 yards three times. He only completed over 60% of his passes in three games and was under 50% three times. If you take away his two most productive games, he only generated six passing touchdowns over eight games. This quarterback was not playing in college football’s best conference, or even one of its five best conferences.
Fortunately for Josh Allen, he is not lacking on size and athleticism at 6 foot 5, 235 pounds and with a 4.6 forty yard dash. With those measurables, Allen could thrive at the next level as a tight end/H-Back hybrid. He can be a taller Jordan Reed or another Tyler Kroft, who he has nearly the same height/weight combination he has. Allen would likely struggle blocking at first but he can be a weapon immediately in the passing game…just not as the player throwing the passes. The mobility is there, why not put it to use?
When Allen tried to be a passer this year against elite teams like 7-5 Iowa, he threw for 174 yards on 40 pass attempts (4.35 YPA) with no touchdowns and two interceptions. A similar thing happened when he played 7-5 Oregon, as he only had 64 yards on 24 passes (2.66 YPA) and another interception to go with no passing touchdowns. How will he fair throwing the ball against a defense like Baltimore or Jacksonville? How would he handle Bill Belichick throwing different schemes at him?
Allen can play at the next level but teams would be wise to get him on tape running routes and catching passes when working him out. He also could likely be a solid contributor on special teams right out of the gate. Punt protector, anybody? If Tim Tebow pulled it off for the New York Jets, Allen definitely could with his size.
Baker Mayfield completed over 70% of his passes this year with a YPA over 11 yards. Lamar Jackson scored 4 or more touchdowns in six different games and completed over 60% of his passes in seven different games. Sam Darnold racked up 26 touchdowns this year to complement his completion percentage of 63.7 and YPA of nearly 9 yards. Josh Rosen matched Darnold’s 26 touchdowns and improved on his own completion percentage by three points in 2017 to hit 62.5. These guys look the part of NFL franchise signal callers, despite any limitations around them from a talent perspective. Josh Allen is more of an athlete than a quarterback right now and teams should take advantage of that when figuring out how to use him on offense.
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