“Please be a smokescreen.”
I’ve been saying this a lot recently, mainly due to the increase in “Josh Allen-to-the-Cleveland Browns” rumors we’ve been seeing. For all intents and purposes, we’re to believe Cleveland has legitimate interest in taking the Wyoming product with the first overall pick.
God willing, it’s just a ploy the team is using to stir the pre-draft pot. However, if the Browns really are on the verge of taking Allen first overall, all it would do is prove that, no matter who’s in the front office, the decision-making from this franchise will forever be laughably awful.
I’ve already stated my concerns on Allen. His accuracy issues are beyond alarming, even more so when considering the competition he faced at Wyoming. The only change we’ve seen since then is the amount of steam the rumors have been picking up.
Allen’s hype comes from his size. This is undeniable, and I completely understand why scouts would fall in love with the idea of drafting a 6-foot-5 QB prospect.
At the same time, what’s the point in fawning over a tall QB with a big arm if he still has no idea how to aim it?
Pundits like Mel Kiper keep claiming the completion percentage issue has been fixed, though, pointing to his pro day and combine performance as proof. Suddenly we’re supposed to be convinced a glaring accuracy problem has been solved based on how Allen threw against the vaunted defense of air.
Sure, this problem isn’t impossible to fix. At the same time, assuming Allen’s low completion percentage in the Mountain West will be easy to correct in the NFL is a massive gamble, even bigger when you’re considering taking him first overall.
The simple fact is Allen is getting this hype because he looks like he could be a pro quarterback. Taking him first overall would be passing on better prospects, choosing instead to bet on someone who has great size but may not figure out how to hit the guys he’s aiming for.
You don’t take someone like this with the first pick.
To be fair, the Browns of old would take someone like this first overall. If we’ve learned anything from Cleveland’s draft history, it’s how often this team tries to outsmart the league at the draft. As a reminder, the Browns have never come out looking like geniuses in their attempts to do so.
I can’t help but think taking Allen at No.1 would be another prime example of this. No, guys like Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen don’t have the same build as the Wyoming product. They may not be as used to playing in cold weather, nor do they have the same level of arm strength as Allen.
What they can both do better than him, though, is complete passes. They’ve proven this, both in games and at their respective pre-draft performances.
Allen, on the other hand, has only proven he can hit most of his passes when he’s running scripted practice drills.
To take him first overall despite this would be another prime example of the Browns shooting themselves on the foot on draft day. It’d be like taking a 28-year-old prospect in the first round and assuming he can be your franchise quarterback (Brandon Weeden). Or assuming a rookie’s notorious alcohol issues won’t negatively affect his play (Johnny Manziel). Hell, taking Allen first overall would be assuming completion percentage concerns can be alleviated overnight for the second year in a row (DeShone Kizer).
This is why fans have been almost unanimously against the idea of the Browns going with the Wyoming QB over other, more-proven players. The aforementioned flame-outs were all taken by separate regimes, and each one at some point had supporters convinced it was the right crew to turn the team around. Each one then got fired when its “clever” draft strategy backfired with a vengeance.
Fans have high hopes for this latest attempt at a functioning front office. GM John Dorsey brings a significant amount of credibility, as do some of the hires he’s brought in. Cleveland finally appears to be heading into the draft with a legit front office run by legit football men.
Right now, we’re being convinced said front office is leaning towards taking a tall-yet-alarmingly-inaccurate quarterback with the first pick in the draft.
The hope remains this is just another smoke screen. If not, if this team really does take Allen at No.1, it may finally prove the Browns will never be able to get on the right track.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook
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