In a series of interviews given this past June, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane was able to describe the team’s evaluation process of not only eventual draft pick Josh Allen, but ostensibly every other quarterback the team brought in for private workouts during the 2018 NFL Draft. Bills fans will remember that the team was able to bring in at least four quarterbacks on pre-draft visits, a list that included Josh Allen, No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, and Mason Rudolph.
According to Beane, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll served as the point man during the team’s private meetings. During the sessions, Daboll scripted 42 plays for each quarterback prospect the Bills worked out, but did not inform the quarterbacks of the script. The front office staff were quite impressed with Allen’s ability to process the plays quickly and without practice.
“[Allen] processed it quickly,” Beane said. “His workout was very good and when we left there, we felt very confident.”
Besides the aforementioned board work, Beane was also sure to stress how important Allen’s intangibles were to the team’s front office. Discussing the benefits of watching Allen play live, Beane was quick to mention how seeing the quarterback react in any given situation was massively important.
“The great thing about seeing a guy play live at quarterback is yes, I can see all the stuff that I can watch on film, but I can see all the stuff in pre-game, how’s he interacting with his guys. When they’re going through stretch lines, is he patting them on the butt and getting them going? When they go three-and-out two series in a row, what’s he doing? When he comes off, who’s he talking to? Is he talking to one guy, is he screaming at people, is he a mute? What’s his leadership like? It’s such an important part of playing that position, because we all know you’re going to have those days or weeks when you lose three in a row. How’s he going to respond? Can he handle adversity?”
Allen was known as a strong leader in the pre-draft process and was evidently able to satisfactorily answer each of those questions.
Beane was also swayed by Allen’s competitive nature at the Senior Bowl. After a couple of poor series, Allen was insistent about staying on the field into the second half and eventually put together two scoring drives.
“The great thing about the game – I know his agents were all wanting him to play a series or two and get out because everyone is fearing injury – and he was like, ‘No, I’m coming back in the second half.’ His agent was probably like, ‘why?’ and he came back and led them on two different touchdown drives,” said Beane.