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Take Two: Does Josh Allen deserve to go No. 1?

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Josh Allen
Josh Allen (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

FARRELL: List of first-round QB busts is long

MORE TAKE TWO: Will Manziel get another shot in the NFL?


The Cleveland Browns seem likely to select a quarterback with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft in a couple weeks and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. is sticking to his guns and predicting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen will be the choice.

The concerns over Allen have been well-documented: In the last two seasons at Wyoming, Allen completed only about 56 percent of his passes. He had 28 touchdowns but 15 interceptions two years ago. This past season, Allen threw for only 1,812 yards with 16 touchdowns and six picks.

The Wyoming quarterback looked good at his pro day, the NFL Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. Maybe more than any other probable first-round quarterback selection - USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson - Allen has had outstanding pre-draft workouts.

So now into his third mock draft, Kiper is sticking with Allen and any criticism seems to be overdone to him at this point.

“I don’t think the completion percentage matters anymore,” Kiper said. “That’s history. People have moved passed that. People who don’t like that number are never going to move past it. There’s nothing he can do. You saw it during his workout, if you didn’t like him, it looked like people were going to cry because he was doing a lot better than they thought considering his so-called accuracy issues. He didn’t show any of that at the combine or at his pro day or the bowl game when he missed only one throw in the Central Michigan game or the Senior Bowl game.

“He has made dramatic improvements and he’s silenced all those guys who say you can’t draft a guy in the first round who completes 56 percent of his passes. Well, Matthew Stafford was at 57 percent. He’s been 66 percent the last three years in the NFL. You think about Brett Favre. Nine of his last 10 years in the NFL, he was over 60 percent. He was 52.4 coming out of Southern Mississippi. The reason I mention Stafford and Favre, that’s who Josh Allen draws comparisons to.”

Are criticisms of Allen misplaced and plain wrong? Or with Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield and others available in the draft, will the Browns make another catastrophic mistake if they take Allen with the first pick?


“I've followed Allen since he came into Wyoming and can't say I'm too surprised what has happened over the last year with the pre-draft discussions because of his prototypical NFL skills. I will say, the low percentage discussion regarding Allen could be misleading a bit since this season he was breaking in a new receiver group. Wyoming had four guys on offense end up on NFL rosters from their 2016 season, so with some key losses, there was some growing pains with the UW's offense in 2017.

"Also, UW's offense doesn't throw a lot of high-percentage passes and many times Allen was throwing deeper passes down the field versus seeing a lot of screens. There seemed to a higher number of dropped passes this season and him making the best out of situations due to pressure.

"He should be considered one of the quarterbacks in the mix for the top of the draft board based on potential upside. Hard to call how these QBs will do in the future, though, if an NFL team is looking for a guy with a high ceiling, it would make sense to draft him in the right fit.”


“I see him as a bust long-term. I changed my opinion on him a little bit because I get caught up with his arm strength and the way he can sling the ball around and how well he moves as a big guy. When you watch him against nobody, when you watch him in all-star games, when you look at him doing routes-on-air, he looks great.

“I still go back to those FBS games and he didn’t look good. Completion percentage is a problem for me. Kiper is just being stubborn. He picked his guy and he’s not going to waver off him. That’s how a lot of people get. Maybe I’m being stubborn and I picked against the guy, but I just don’t believe in him.”