Best Scheme Fit: Vertical, play-action
offense to take advantage of his arm strength. Note: All times listed in parentheses
in strengths/weaknesses section reflect the start time on video
- via Draft Breakdown - that displays that skill/trait.
Prototypical frame/hand size for a NFL quarterback.
Rare arm strength; generates more RPMs on off-platform throws
than some quarterbacks can get on their regular passes. (0:16, 0:29, 3:10, 4:05, 4:12, 6:07)
Displays more touch/accuracy on short and intermediate throws
than he is given credit for. (0:42, 1:39, 2:18, 82:52, 87:49)
Has the ability to make subtle moves inside/around the pocket
under chaos; better than advertised when it comes to reacting
well to "trash" at or near his feet. (3:52, 4:40, 5:05, 7:37)
Shows flashes of looking off linebacker/safety. (0:38, 0:49, 11:02)
Very good athlete capable of hurting the defense with his
legs; can be utilized on quarterback power runs like Cam Newton.
(2:45, 4:37, 5:06, 5:52, 6:55)
Obvious competitor; strong lower body makes him hard to tackle/sack
with one defender. (2:11, 3:06, 3:13, 4:16, 4:37)
Under center 35.2 percent of his snaps in 2017.
Decision-making is inconsistent at best, sometimes because
he relies too heavily on arm strength (1:04, 2:27, 3:34, 4:05, 6:27, 7:40) while other times he doesn't process an advantage
he's been given by the defense quickly enough. (1:00, 4:51)
Durability likely to be a problem; does not slide and rarely
attempts to avoid contact as a runner. (0:15, 1:11, 1:23, 3:13, 5:06)
Doesn't have a good feel yet when he needs to wave the white
flag on the current play and move on to the next one. (0:01, 0:02, 2:11, 3:13, 4:16)
Pre-snap recognition; has to better understand matchups/defensive
leverage and needs to be better able to see blitz and/or feel
pressure. (6:02, 6:28, 10:47)
Has a tendency to wait for his receivers to come open before
releasing the ball (0:28, 0:38) and/or doesn't always marry
up his feet with his throw from the pocket. (10:17, 11:31)
Needs to show more consistent touch on shorter throws. (3:07, 3:53, 4:48)
Alternates between looking off defenders and staring down
his receivers. (6:22, 6:26)
Disturbing lack of production against only three power-conference
opponents he faced in 2016 and 2017 (combined 48-of-96 for 427
yards with one touchdown and eight interceptions versus Nebraska,
Iowa and Oregon).
Before tackling the enigma that is Allen, I'll attempt to challenge
the most irrational argument critics like to use when discussing
why he will fail as a pro: completion percentage. The general
fan likes to talk about this stat as if it some kind of all-encompassing
number. Hall of Famer Steve Young once said there was at least
40 things he needed to process before every snap when he played.
There may be even more factors to take into account - even before
we discuss fundamentals such as footwork - that play a role in
determining completion percentage. Did his receivers drop catchable
balls? How many throws did he make from a clean pocket? How often
is he "under pressure"? Is the pressure in his face?
How often is he throwing on the run? How many yards down the field
does he throw on average? Is he throwing mostly on third down?
Is he a low-volume quarterback? You get the point. Matthew Stafford
had a career completion percentage of 57.1 at Georgia. Brett Favre
was at 52.4 for Southern Miss. They have both done pretty well
for themselves. Player evaluation should never be a stat-based
endeavor - especially using generic ones - because stats cannot
account for the offense the quarterback played in, what he was
asked to do in it or how much control he had over it. Evaluating
game tape will never be perfect either as long as the methods
and people grading it are imperfect, but suggesting Allen isn't
a great prospect because his completion percentage is low is lazy
analysis quite frankly.
So what is Allen? Maddening. Defenses must respect the entire
field every time he drops back. He shows flashes of brilliance,
uncorking an anticipatory strong-armed throw maybe five NFL quarterbacks
could make. One or two plays later, he fires a five-yard missile
behind his tight end, stares down his primary receiver on an out
route or overthrows a seam or go route by five yards. He literally
can alternate between John Elway and Jay Cutler on the same drive.
Moreover, even if the case is made his supporting cast at Wyoming
was below-average, the Mountain West isn't exactly home to a bunch
of defensive juggernauts. If we assume the last sentence is true,
Allen is a first-round talent and we also buy into the notion
great quarterbacks make their teammates (if not entire team) better,
then should he not have been a man amongst boys in the conference?
At his best, there is no more talented quarterback prospect in
this draft class than Allen, at least among "traditional"
signal-callers. (Lamar Jackson should be put into his own class.)
There is no question he has the physical gifts. The problem is
how infrequently and unpredictable "his best" will come
around. More than any other quarterback prospect in this draft,
Allen needs his next offensive coordinator and/or position coach
to be fully committed to developing him in the same kind of way
the Kansas City Chiefs basically redshirted Patrick Mahomes. Armed
with a full grasp of the playbook, a competent quarterback teacher
and given the chance to build the chemistry that comes with working
with the same teammates for two offseasons, I like Allen's chances
of becoming a reasonable facsimile of Roethlisberger down the
road. If the team drafts him hopes he will be the Week 1 answer,
all bets are off. He has the highest ceiling AND the lowest floor
among all quarterback prospects in this draft.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.