The Buffalo Bills have only drafted four quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL Draft since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. Jim Kelly was the first in 1983, and he was followed by J.P. Losman in 2004 and EJ Manuel in 2013. In April, the Bills made Josh Allen the fourth first-round quarterback drafted in team history.
While Allen is not the first Bills’ quarterback taken with the team’s first pick in the first round (that distinction belongs to Manuel, as both Kelly and Losman were the second Bills pick of their respective first rounds), Allen is the highest-drafted quarterback in team history. With this kind of selection comes great expectations, and the team has high hopes that Allen is the player that can finally become the next great Buffalo Bills quarterback.
In the 93rd and final installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile the man expected to develop into a franchise quarterback.
Name: Josh Allen
Height/Weight: 6’5” 237 lbs.
Draft: Selected in the first round (seventh overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Allen’s rookie contract is a four-year deal worth a total of $21,183,038. The deal is fully guaranteed, and contains a fifth-year option, which is standard for all contracts of first-round picks. In 2018, his salary cap hit will be $3,851,461.
2017 Recap: After a spectacular sophomore season, expectations for Allen were high coming into his junior year, and his overall numbers were disappointing. Allen completed 56.3% of his passes (152/270), throwing for 1,812 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. His average yards per attempt dropped from 8.6 in his sophomore season to 6.8 last year. Allen added 92 rushing attempts for 204 yards and 5 touchdowns last year, as well. He played in 11 games, missing time due to an injury to his throwing shoulder. He recovered in time to lead Wyoming to a 37-14 victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, where he threw for 154 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 19 attempts against Central Michigan.
Positional outlook: Allen appears to be the third quarterback at this time, learning behind five-year veteran AJ McCarron and second-year man Nathan Peterman. All three quarterbacks are expected to make the 53-man roster.
2018 Offseason: Allen has had his ups and downs during training camp, but he has made some outstanding plays to remind people of the raw talent that made him a high draft selection. He has also displayed some of the inaccurate tendencies that give some scouts pause about proclaiming him a sure-thing at the NFL level. Head coach Sean McDermott describes the plan for developing Allen as “calculated,” and he has said on multiple occasions that the team does not want to rush to 22-year old along. Allen made his NFL debut on Thursday night, completing 9 of 19 passes for 116 yards and 1 touchdown, a gorgeous bullet through a ridiculously tight window to Ray-Ray McCloud. Check this link for all of Allen’s throws in the game.
2018 season outlook: Allen probably will not open the 2018 season as Buffalo’s starting quarterback, but there is a good chance that he starts some games throughout the season. The coaching staff may also look to give him some reps in games where the Bills either trail by a wide margin or are ahead by a few scores just so that Allen can enter a game in a low-pressure situation. With a strong preseason, it’s possible that Allen can move the timeline for him to start forward a bit, but the Bills’ coaching staff seems content to allow McCarron and Peterman to handle quarterbacking duties, at least in the early-going. A “successful” rookie season for Allen may be difficult to judge based on traditional statistics. If the coaching staff deems him ready to start professional games, this could be considered a success; if he shows improvement each day, whether the results are outstanding or not, this could also be considered success. Allen’s development is the single most important individual component of Buffalo’s long-term plans. With that in mind, expect the coaching staff to be careful not to put him in a situation that isn’t ideal.
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Thus ends our look at all the players on the Bills’ roster for 2018. Some players did not make it to the end of the series with us (sorry Owa Odighizuwa, Quan Bray, and Tenny Palepoi), but I’m certainly appreciative of the fact that you all did.
Thanks for reading, ya’ll—go Bills!