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.