To nobody’s surprise, Josh Allen impressed everyone with his arm at Wyoming’s pro day. But here’s the thing: Allen absolutely had to impress during his workouts before the draft.
The reason Allen is being considered near the top of the first round is pure physical ability. He’s big. He’s athletic. And he has the the kind of arm strength that doesn’t come around very often.
“It takes about two throws to see a difference in arm talent,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said early in Allen’s workout, which was televised live. “It just jumps out of his hand.”
And if he didn’t ace the workouts, there are plenty of reasons for him to fall way down in the draft.
Allen wasn’t first- or second-team all-Mountain West last season. He struggled against some of the better competition he faced. His alarming completion percentage in college has been dissected by everyone. Had he not fired the ball with amazing velocity at the scouting combine or at his pro day, there’s not much to his profile anymore.
But he did exactly what was expected of him. The velocity was there, but that wasn’t all. On back-to-back throws he hit a deep route down the left sideline, then lofted a wheel route down the right sideline, showing good touch on both. He threw on the move. During the scripted workout, he threw every type of pass you’d want to see. Footwork was something Allen said at the combine he was working on, to improve accuracy, and that seemed fine. Mayock couldn’t help himself from uttering “Wow!” during a few throws, and after one throw he just laughed and said “that had a flame coming out of the back of it.”
“If that football was a harpoon, that kid would be dead right now,” Mayock said.
It’s a lot easier to be accurate and throw with great touch in a shirt and shorts with no defense on the field, but it was still impressive. After about 50 throws, Allen finished up by airing out a few really deep throws. On one he stood on his own 15-yard line and overthrew it to about the other 10-yard line, a 75-yard pass. He made another similar pass, also overthrown, a little later.
— NFL (@NFL) March 23, 2018
It’s easy to see why NFL teams like him. They can see the potential. He’s raw and needs to improve in many areas, but some team will see what he can do and ignore what he can’t do at this point. You can’t teach throwing a ball 75 yards downfield.
“Remember, I had Carson Wentz as the No. 1 player in that draft, so I love Carson Wentz, but from a pure physical talent perspective, this kid is a better athlete with more arm talent,” Mayock said. “That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a better quarterback, but as a piece of clay to mold, he’s special.”
The NFL Network crew gushed about him, and presumably the many NFL coaches, GMs and scouts on hand liked what they saw too.
Now comes the hard part for NFL teams. They know exactly what Allen brings to the table. They also can readily see the reasons he won’t make it in the NFL too. Teams have to figure out what’s the best time to take the risk on a player with his upside. That’s what makes Allen one of the draft’s most intriguing players.
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