The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
Over the past six months, there has been much written about Wyoming junior Josh Allen being the next great quarterback to enter the NFL. Some are saying that he could be the best since Andrew Luck. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying the hype, it's more myth than fact. Should Allen choose to enter the NFL Draft following the 2017 season, he will be a very good quarterback prospect, but hardly the best since Luck!
First, let’s take a look at Allen’s history. He played his high school football at Firebaugh High School in California and was not highly recruited. Because of that he enrolled at a two-year school (Reedley College) in the hopes of improving his game. At Reedley he led an offense that put up a total of 452 yards a game and threw 26 touchdowns, but he still wasn’t recruited by any FBS-level schools. In fact, after that one season at Reedley, he had offers from only two FBS schools (Wyoming and Eastern Michigan).
Allen accepted the offer from Wyoming and enrolled in the spring semester of 2015. Going into the 2015 season, he was not listed as the starter and only got a few snaps in that opening game. He was given the start the following week but didn’t make it out of the first quarter, as he suffered a fractured collarbone and missed the rest of the season.
He became the starter for the 2016 season and put up good but not great numbers. For the season, Allen completed 209 of 373 throws for 3203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He completed only 56 percent of his attempts — which is poor for the style of offense he plays in and against a lower level of FBS competition.
What also jumps out is that he lost four of the last five games he played and played his worst against the best competition. In game two versus Nebraska, he threw five interceptions and against BYU and San Diego State, he threw two each.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to like about Allen. He has excellent size at about 6-5, 225 —and has the frame to carry 230+. He is a very good athlete with quick feet, speed and change of direction. I would estimate he will run the 40 in the high 4.6’s. He also can throw the ball very well when on the run. Allen is a bit of a rhythm thrower who can get hot and complete everything.
Allen has excellent arm strength and a very quick delivery. He also gets good velocity on his throws and can easily throw the ball 55-60 yards in the air. While he shows he can make all the required NFL-type throws, he also has some bad habits.
Too often, Allen doesn’t set his feet before he throws. That causes the ball to sail on him. While he makes some great throws, he also can be way off with his accuracy and ball placement. Much of the time this has to do with his footwork. He also has a tendency to trust his arm too much and force some throws. When that happens, the results usually aren’t good. With four of the five interceptions he threw against Nebraska, Allen was at fault for the turnover. At this time he is not a great decision-maker on the field.
I like the poise and demeanor Allen shows on the field. He has control of the offense and is in charge. Teammates look up to him and respect his talent. At the quarterback position that is extremely important.
Because Allen sustained his shoulder injury in game two of the 2015 season, he still has two years of eligibility left. That said, he will most likely enter the Draft next year, as he almost entered the 2017 Draft.
If Allen wants to be a top 5 or top 10 type pick, he has to improve his overall game by developing his footwork and accuracy and decision-making. It’s a fact that quarterbacks who have accuracy problems in college don’t become accurate as NFL passers. Because of his lack of college experience, he is still a work in progress. Yes, there is loads of talent to work with, but that talent needs to be refined. It’s up to him to make those improvements in his game.