The Buffalo Bills were widely expected to trade up from their starting draft slot of 12th overall on Thursday night to draft a quarterback, but from the overwhelmingly negative reaction on social media, most folks couldn’t believe that the Bills would elect to go with Wyoming’s Josh Allen when UCLA’s Josh Rosen was still on the board. The consensus from pundits and fans alike was that Rosen was the much safer bet than Allen, the latter of which played his college ball at a small-status school and failed to really impress on the field in his time there.
The Bills, however, obviously had a totally different opinion.
“I don’t want to rank how we had [the top-rated QBs in the draft], but we obviously thought a lot of [Allen],” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said addressing the media Thursday night. “[Allen and Rosen] are very good players. Just talking about Allen, this is Buffalo. Big guy. An athlete. Really, for his size, you look at all the testing numbers — really good athlete. Makes plays in the pocket and on the run.”
Like Beane, head coach Sean McDermott cited a similar reason as to why he likes Allen.
“What you see on tape is size, athleticism. We know how important playing in our conditions in terms of being able to throw the football and grip the football. He can make all the throws.”
So there you have it. Forget the fact that Rosen’s collegiate stats are way better than those of Allen’s, or that the former UCLA star was considered by some pundits to be the best pure passer in the class, the Bills preferred Allen because he’s literally listed as being an inch taller and 11 pounds heavier than Rosen (6’4, 226 lbs.), measurements they think make Allen better equipped to play in the tough climate conditions Buffalo is known for. In the Bills defense, though, Allen looks much bigger physically than his listed playing weight - he resembles the likes of Carson Wentz, Ben Roethlisberger, and Cam Newton, three current fellow physically imposing signal-callers that have had success in the league.
Besides Allen’s unimpressive career record at Wyoming and his much-talked-about low completion percentage - that even he isn’t proud of - there were also concerns coming into Thursday about his racially insensitive tweets that leaked less than 24 hours before the start of the first round.
“We don’t condone anything. We did our due diligence on him.” Beane said about Allen’s past tweets. “I know there are things I would be disappointed in myself that I did at 14 or 15.”
“No one’s perfect. If you take the right approach, the right attitude, you have a chance to improve,” McDermott said of Allen.
Beane also told the media that team owners Terry and Kim Pegula were involved in the decision to pull the trigger on Allen, and that the Pegulas spoke to their rookie quarterback Thursday night.
After all he went through prior to hearing his name called and walking across the draft stage, Allen said he grateful to the Bills for taking a chance on him when other teams passed him up.
“I want to say thank you to the Bills organization for making the leap and putting their faith in me. I’m gonna make them look like they are the smartest people out there.”