Josh Allen is favoured by many to be the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
The former Wyoming QB has prototypical size and a cannon for an arm, so it's easy to see why the Browns may be enamoured by him as a prospect. However, he does have some major red flags that teams will need to look past if they are to draft him at the top of the first round.
Namely, his worryingly low career completion percentage.
Allen completed just 56.2% of his passes at Wyoming, against lesser talent than the other top prospects in the 2018 draft class, but he doesn't see that as a problem.
In fact, he told Mike Florio on PFT Live that he's tired of hearing that he's not an accurate passer.
“The inaccuracy issue,” Allen said. “Going back to college having a 56-percent completion percentage. Obviously, it’s not great. But I think that it’s a little blown out of proportion. I do think that I’m accurate. Jordan Palmer’s helped me out a lot throughout this process with getting my feet right. Once we did that [I’m] throwing the ball a little easier. The ball’s coming out and where it’s supposed to be.”
Allen has had issues with accuracy his entire footballing career though, stretching back to high school. In fact, he's never completed more than 60% of his passes in a season, which is generally considered the mark of decent quarterback play in terms of accurate ball placement.
Clearly it's not all on him; playing with lesser talent at Wyoming and in high school the scope for having dropped passes is far higher than in the NFL, especially considering the fierce velocity with which Allen throws the ball.
Additionally, Allen explained that his poor footwork led him to make poor throws and that the offense he played in at Wyoming demanded a lot of him in terms of downfield passes. Obviously a higher volume of deep throws lends to more incompletions than a system that focuses on the short and intermediate game.
"I think if you look at the film at the times that I did miss, my feet were jacked," he said.
"Going back to our offensive system I was asked to do a lot of things within our system. Threw the ball downfield a lot. I am the one to admit that I didn't put the ball where it needed to be all the time. But, you know, given the circumstances that we had in Wyoming, we won two back-to-back eight-win seasons. It was a place where we ended up winning football games. I think that I helped out in that manner putting the team in the best position to win football games."
In fairness, the polarising QB didn't blame his receivers and took full ownership for not putting the ball where it needed to be, and it seems like he thinks he's managed to correct any issues that were causing him to do that.
Regardless, there's a long list of quarterback's that have entered the NFL with a college completion percentage of under 60% that have failed to make an impact as a pro. That will undoubtedly be a big concern for anyone considering Allen as a first round pick, especially the Browns.
Since 1999 Cleveland has drafted three signal callers with a completion percentage under 60% in their final year in college; Spergon Wynn (50), Luke McCown (56.9) and Deshone Kizer (58.7%). That trio has 21 touchdown passes and 43 interceptions between them in the NFL to date.
Having said that, Johnny Manziel completed 68.9% of his passes at Texas A&M and Brett Favre's career completion percentage at Southern Mississippi was a mere 52.4% and we all know how differently their careers turned out.
Whether Allen, like Favre, can buck the trend remains to be seen but there's no doubt the numbers will play a part in his draft position whether he likes it or not.