There are two things I keep hearing when it comes to quarterback prospect Josh Allen.
First, everyone seems aligned with his scouting report, which does have a fair share of flaws. Despite this, many of these same pundits continue to claim Allen is who the Cleveland Browns should take first overall in the upcoming draft.
I can’t pass on this suggestion hard enough. The constant insistence in Cleveland drafting Allen is beyond confusing, and right now it sure feels like the team would be wrong to even consider such a thing.
To be clear, I’m not knocking Allen here. He’s a first-round talent, with size and arm-strength which should help him succeed in the NFL. There don’t seem to be any red flags when it comes to his character or on-field presence, so there’s nothing to worry about there.
My problem, though, comes from people hammering home the idea the Browns should take him with the first selection in the draft. This strategy is riddled with holes, which only makes the nonstop hyping of Allen as a potential top pick more perplexing.
The incoming quarterback class is deep and talented. In having the first overall pick, Cleveland is in a position to take the best available player at this position. Since we’re talking about a team which continually shoots itself in the foot when trying to solve its everlasting problem at QB, the Browns can ill-afford to blow this opportunity.
Taking Allen first overall would be a textbook definition of blowing this opportunity.
Yes, at 6-foot-5, the Wyoming product has the perfect size for the pros. He also boasts the biggest arm of the class, which obviously generates a fair amount of buzz.
At the same time, his arm strength loses a lot of appeal when you factor in his completion percentage.
Last season, Allen completed 56.3% of his passes. He did so in the underwhelming Mountain West conference. In said conference, Allen finished with only 16 touchdowns, compared to six interceptions, resulting in his generating the lowest QB rating of his career.
So, to those who continue touting Allen’s big arm as a reason why the Browns should take him No.1 overall, I ask a simple question.
What’s the point of highlighting a quarterback’s throwing strength if he’s still only able to hit a little over half his passes?
Meanwhile, three other top prospects – Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield – posted higher completion percentages, total touchdown passes and quarterback ratings against far better competition. Mayfield specifically threw over two times as many touchdowns (43).
If this all feels heavy-handed, that’s intentional. The point is there are better prospects available than Allen. This fact alone is proof the Browns shouldn’t even consider taking him first overall.
You can argue Allen’s accuracy issues can be worked on with solid coaching, which wouldn’t be wrong. That said, thanks to Cleveland retaining the historically awful Hue Jackson, it’s safe to say solid coaching isn’t exactly available with this team.
Additionally, the Browns’ last attempt at a franchise quarterback – DeShone Kizer – had inaccuracy issues coming out of college as well. His rookie season should be solid proof these kinds of problems don’t just disappear overnight, as he finished 2017 with a putrid completion percentage of 53.6%
The main point, though, is Cleveland comes to the draft with the ability to take the hands-down, undisputed best quarterback available. Allen is not that quarterback. He’s a prospect who’s both talented and flawed. There are at least three other players who put forth better seasons than Allen, and each should therefore be considered less of a gamble.
As someone who’s followed this team for far too long now, I’ve grown tired of watching it think outside the box at the most valuable position on the field. Time after time, the Browns pass up the chance to select sure-thing prospects to instead take players who are flawed (Brady Quinn), old (Brandon Weeden) or unable to pass a field sobriety test (this shouldn’t need to be clarified).
Now, with a deep class of quarterbacks and the first overall draft pick, Cleveland has a chance to buck its trend of making mistakes at a position it’s mismanaged for the better part of two decades now.
As a result, it doesn’t make any sense to take Allen, someone who grades out worse than at least three other QBs.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook
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