Ravens’ mistake with Kyle Boller may be a cautionary tale about Josh Allen

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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is a polarizing player in this year’s draft, with some viewing him as the likely first overall pick to the Browns, and others viewing him as too flawed a passer to justify going first overall.

When it’s pointed out that Allen completed just 56.2 percent of his passes at Wyoming, the response is usually that his lack of production was more about playing on a weak team at Wyoming than about Allen himself.

In that respect, Allen is reminiscent of Kyle Boller, an inaccurate passer at Cal who nonetheless went in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft. The Ravens came to regret drafting Boller, who was a major disappointment, and years later, former Ravens coach Brian Billick explained that the Ravens convinced themselves they could draft Boller despite his bad stats in college because he had a bad team around him.

Biggest error we made when evaluating Kyle Boller out of Cal was justifying low comp % by criticizing the talent he had around him,” Billick wrote.

Some people are convinced that Allen’s only problem at Wyoming was the team around him. Mel Kiper said “stats are for losers” in talking up Allen, who according to Kiper has the necessary physical traits.

“He’s got the big hands and all that — physically he looks like a big-time quarterback,” Kiper said of Allen.

He looks like a big-time quarterback, but in college he often didn’t play like a big-time quarterback. Boller is a cautionary tale for what happens when a team drafts that kind of player.

56 responses to “Ravens’ mistake with Kyle Boller may be a cautionary tale about Josh Allen

  1. If his completion percentage + drop percentage is greater than 65, then he is fine. The key is drops. If your receivers have lots of drops, then that is not your fault. That’s the eyeball test with stats.

  2. You thought he could overcome his poor decision making and inaccuracy because he was semi athletic and could throw a ball 75 yards from his knees…..

  3. yea and according to Kiper, Jimmy Clausen was supposed to be the next Peyton Manning. The guy said he would retire if he was wrong. So he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he is not a man of his word.

    why is his opinion of any significance here?

  4. If he’d been playing in a conference of powerhouses then maybe there’d be validity to the bad team argument. But the Mountain West isn’t exactly murderer’s row defensively. Anybody NFL-ready should have found plenty of open receivers. But, hey, at least he has big hands and looks like a big-time quarterback.

  5. What you want to see is a QB that is succeeding (i.e., winning games) despite clearly inferior talent around him. Those are the kids that have the “stuff” for the NFL and there are very few of them in any given year. Sometimes none.

  6. Carson Wentz beat a division 1 team at NDSU. Josh Allen playing against power 5 teams was absolutely terrible.

    Great QB’s make players around them better, Allen didn’t do that. Let’s not make this harder than it needs to be. Allen shouldn’t be drafted before round 3 and should have at least 1 or 2 years riding the bench before seeing any live game action.

  7. The best part was that they traded a 1st rounder to the Pats to move up to get Boller and the pick they traded was used by the Pats to draft DE Vince Wilfork who will probably end up in the Pats hall of fame.

  8. If I’m the Browns, I stay away from a quarterback. They have plenty of draft picks that can be used to build the rest of the roster. There’s decent quarterbacks available in free agency. Wait until you have a decent team to work with before you draft a 22 year old who will be put under the stress of being the face of the franchise.

  9. Harrington and Boller also both came out of the same system after learning from Jeff Tedford, whse proteges were 0 for 6 as NFL stars (don’t consider Dilfer a star) until Aaron Rodgers was drafted.

  10. I’m sold the only reason Mel Kiper is an ESPN Draft Analyst is because of his phenomenal flow…

    Other than that the guy is a complete chump when it comes to the Draft. Very rarely does Kiper correctly predict who teams are going to take and he consistently over-values the physical assets of kids coming into the draft.

    The guy had Aaron Curry ranked #1 in 2009 and said JaMarcus Russell was a Top 5 NFL QB and was Elway-Like…

    Net-Net, if Kiper is on Team Josh Allen, I’d steer clear of drafting him.

  11. “why is his opinion of any significance here?”

    It shouldn’t be. Kiper, like all the draft analysts, is usually wrong by a half dozen picks into the draft if not earlier, and by the middle of the first round their mocks are usually way off and many of the “can’t miss” prospects turn out to be total busts.

    I wish I had a job that paid me like Kiper and allowed me to as wrong all the time as he is with no ramifications.

  12. First of all, let’s keep in mind that a LOT of Baltimore’s regret with drafting Boller wasn’t just that he failed, but that they gave up the 41st overall pick AND the following year’s first rounder to get him. Two premium picks lost for a bust hurts worse than a bust at a pick you already had.

    Second, let’s not pretend that these two had similar struggles in college, at least on paper. Boller’s cited senior season completion percentage was actually a career high; he was UNDER 50% in each of his other three seasons. For his career, Boller was at 47.7%, 6.1 Y/A, and a 108.2 rating. Allen, meanwhile, was over 56% for each of his two starting seasons, 7.7 Y/A attempt overall, and a 137.8 rating. Boller also wasn’t mobile, while Allen put up 767 rushing yards in his two seasons.

  13. Id much rather take Mason Rudolph over Allen, Rudolph may not have the cannon of an arm but he has a good arm and something Allen doesnt, Accuracy…

  14. The best part was that they traded a 1st rounder to the Pats to move up to get Boller and the pick they traded was used by the Pats to draft DE Vince Wilfork who will probably end up in the Pats hall of fame.
    *WILL BE in the Patriots Hall of Fame. And Vince wont be in there for his talent and play alone. After the 2014 AFCCG against the Colts, he helped a women get out of a flipped car in Foxboroug, Along with Bianca, who is probably the most recognizable women in our franchise outside of Myra and Giselle. And she was a HELL of a women who helped the other wives and families adjust to the league, the patriots work ethic/long days, and homeless shelters around Mass.

  15. I don’t know much about Allen, but I doubt he trips over as many yardage stripes as Boller did.

  16. Draft = Crap Shoot Coaching and team environment have as much to do with succeeding as anything….all this projections junk is just junk, these guys are as accurate as the weatherman

  17. Some great defenses were wasted trying to develop boller. The boller years are what makes Ravens fans like Flacco so much. Joe has his ups and downs but he doesn’t lose games for his team and he’s good enough to keep the Ravens in most games in season an playoffs. PLUS HE”S A SUPERBOWL MVP looking for another this year!

  18. The comparison between Josh Allen and Kyle Boller may be rooted in something real. Allen grew up close to Fresno State and I’ll bet somewhere down the line he was coached by people who were disciples of Jeff Tedford, who coached Dilfer at Fresno St & Kyle Boller & Aaron Rodgers at Cal.

    Tedford teaches mechanics that are great when measuring against a Juggs machine or a long distance throw competition but not so much for football accuracy.

    One of the reason Rodgers dropped in the draft was his robotic,severly overhead throwing motion. Thankfully for him those years behind Favre allowed him to be coached out of it. For Boller that never happened. Look at his picture with that weird shoulder slant best suited for throwing a javelin. Boller did that even on intermediate throws.

    For Josh Allen,from what I’ve seen of him he does not look like the Tedford Method has poisoned him. His looks pretty natural and solid but if I were a scout or GM I would ask who coached him up as a kid and if he falls back on any of Tedford’s bad medicine.

  19. You can’t evaluate QB’s by using statistics, unless you use perfectly equal comparisons. That’s impossible to do. If you’re a lazy scout, you’ll go for the stats. It takes a lot of film study to get them right. If I was an owner in need of a QB, and I didn’t have a GM who was 100% confident in his ability to evaluate QB’s, I’d hire a guy like Mike Shanahan to study the top 10 QB’s. Whatever you paid Mike, it’d be well worth the cost. The other positions are much easier to evaluate, but the QB position is 95% above the shoulders, and that’s obviously not easy for most people. Shanahan doesn’t need the money, but it might be a fun hobby for him.

  20. I would be wary of Lamar Jackson as well. Sub 60% completion percentage and played in a Petrino system. Any other QB who played under Petrino had the system and offense come into question.

  21. Everyone of the quarterbacks coming out in draft have flaws . I’d be more afraid of Sam Darnold and the kid from Louisville than Josh Allen. Allen is a really good quarterback who had no talent around him. If he was at a school with a lot of talent around him he would have won a national championship.

  22. If you’re playing at Wyoming, wouldn’t your stats be better as a QB not worse?

    It’s not like he’s going up against SEC defenses every week. If he can’t regularly throw someone open under those conditions, how is he going to do it against better defenders?

  23. I don’t know how anyone would think it’s worthwhile to watch Josh Allen playing against a school like Iowa. Allen’s O-Linemen are so overmatched, he never gets to set his feet. He has high school WRs going up against future NFL pro bowl cornerbacks. John Elway was below .500 at Stanford because his supporting cast couldn’t match up with USC and UCLA, etc. But when Elway had a supporting cast that was equal to his competition, he did ok. What kind of coaching is Allen getting? Who’s coordinating that offense? I see Allen making some poor decisions. I see Sam Darnold making poor decisions. I see Baker Mayfield making poor decisions. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of trades in the early part of round one. Some of the GM’s are not going to want those tough decisions.

  24. Blaine Gabbert would be another example of a player who is said to have all the tools but they didn’t add up to productivity at the college level. They didn’t in the NFL either.

    If a player is going to be productive in the NFL, he should be a standout at the college level. Allen isn’t a standout even against week competition.

  25. It was said that with good coaching Josh Allen improved every day at the Senior Bowl; and then he played very well in the game, the North MVP I believe? I think Josh Allen is a much better prospect than Kyle Boller.

  26. I’m calling bust. Can’t teach accuracy and touch, you can refine what you have, but either have it or you don’t. The fact that his TD : Int ratio was so low is also a concern.

  27. It’s a known fact that college QB’s entering the NFL with big hands and having the looks of a big-time quarterback are pretty much sure fire future HOFer’s.

  28. I’m a Browns fan and I DO NOT want them to draft a QB at 1 or 4. Why? Because this organization hasn’t shown that they have the slightest idea how to develop a young QB. I think a number of our washouts since ’99 could’ve performed better and had more success on better teams. It’s the David Carr syndrome: David may have been a decent NFL QB if he hadn’t been hammered into the turf relentlessly on a terrible Texans team.

    I’d rather they went with an unexciting choice like Cousins – or hell, get Glennon and let him have a legit chance for a few years – while you build the rest of the team.

    Yes, we need a QB, but let’s start with some organizational stability (for once, Haslam, you jackass) and build up our defense, run game and O-line. Those things help any QB.

    Oh, and cutting our top receivers and signing Kenny Britt…after the Bowe debacle…just awful decisions.

  29. Dare I say in Kiper we trust? No way, he liked Boller too. My Kyle Boller bobble head (gift) was used to start a fire in my fire pit.

  30. isn’t a rising tide supposed to raise all ships? A GREAT QB on an otherwise EHHH team should make those players better around him. I would not take him up top.

    If you want to take him lower end of 1st – fine. Acceptable risk. But top of the draft means boom/bust and that’s it.

  31. NinersFan1973 says:
    February 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm
    Harrington and Boller also both came out of the same system after learning from Jeff Tedford, whse proteges were 0 for 6 as NFL stars (don’t consider Dilfer a star) until Aaron Rodgers was drafted.

    I didn’t see your post Niners or I would have acknowledged it on my Tedford post, You nailed it. I think Tedford is the common denominator that may have even worked it’s way to Josh Allen given his growing up in the Fresno area. I’m hoping for Allen’s sake it might be something he reverts to as bad habits only ocassionally. Also,I wonder if Jameis Winston is ruined from Tedford’s brief time with the Bucs.I think he brought the QB coach who stayed all year to work as OC.

  32. Allen sounds like more of a project QB. Accuracy arguably matters more than any other trait (followed by release time) and if he sucks at it in college, chances are the much faster NFL pass rush won’t improve it anytime soon. All that equates to a 3rd round pick.

  33. I have a big time issue with a coach ever saying it was a mistake to draft a player. That player’s failure is just as much of a failure of the coach for not getting more out of the player.

  34. The Boller era was a nightmare. The Ravens squandered one of the best defenses in NFL history and all they needed was a serviceable QB. Should have kept Dilfer

  35. Similar argument for when the Titans took Jake Locker at #8. His completion % was low, but his drop percentage was insanely high. So it wasn’t him, it truly was the talent around him. He actually proved could play in the NFL but he was ALWAYS hurt. He had several teams interested in him after his rookie contract but he decided he just didn’t want to do it anymore, likely because constantly recovering from injuries must really suck.

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