When we talk about “red flags” for NFL draft prospects, we’re usually talking about issues that are hard to quantify, like character or personality or leadership. With Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, the red flag is very easy to quantify statistically.
Namely, the red flag is that despite his rocket arm, he stunk at throwing the football, statistically speaking: Allen was a two-year starter who completed just 56.2 percent of his passes in his college career, for a mediocre average of 7.8 yards per pass, with 44 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
FootballOutsiders.com uses a system for projecting how college quarterbacks will play in the NFL called Quarterback-Adjusted-Stats-and-Experience, or QBASE. In that system, Allen is the only player among this year’s top quarterback prospects who comes out with a negative score. The combination of only starting two years in college and only completing 56 percent of his passes is a bad omen.
Going back to 1997, there have been 27 quarterbacks chosen in the Top 100 picks despite having a negative score on the QBASE system. Not a single one of those 27 quarterbacks has turned out to be a Pro Bowler. Among the first round picks is an ugly group that includes Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, J.P. Losman, and Patrick Ramsey.
Some have argued that Allen’s stats stink because the team around him at Wyoming stunk. Perhaps that’s true. But hoping that a quarterback who couldn’t put up good numbers in college will manage to put up good numbers in the NFL is a risky proposition, especially with the first overall pick in the draft.