‘Wunderkind’ QB Josh Allen making recalcitrant critics a bit queasy

Photo of QB Josh Allen from sportingnews.com and Getty Images.

Oddly, Josh Allen didn’t appear on my football radar until the beginning of his junior year at the University of Wyoming. He was brought to my attention by some college football aficionados, knowing I was interested in familiarizing myself with the 2018 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks.

What I saw watching Josh on Thursday night at New Era Field during his first NFL preseason game was similar in some respects to what I’ve seen from him throughout his early development as a quarterback.

A newb.

The trajectory of human development sets itself in motion at very different times. Puberty hits early for some, for others it’s a much later and longer process toward peak physical development. I can relate to how ‘wunderkind’ quarterback Josh Allen fell into the latter category. Later-onset puberty has consequences others often don’t think about.

If #BillsMafia really wants to know how Josh Allen slipped through the cracks of the college football scouting system, as well as some back ground about how Josh came to be the young man he is today, check out ESPN’s Senior Writer Mark Schlabach’s terrific article here:

“In February 2014, when it was time for Josh to choose a college as a high school senior, the Bulldogs — and every other FBS team — weren’t interested. At the time, Josh was about 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds. He hadn’t attended the elite quarterback camps and wasn’t a widely known prospect. His high school team didn’t participate in many 7-on-7 camps because Josh and many of his teammates were busy playing baseball and other sports. He was the leading scorer on his basketball team and also pitched on the baseball team, reaching 90 mph with his fastball.”

Josh Allen, right, grew up near Fresno State and was a fan of the Bulldogs and current Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Photo from ESPN.com.

Six-foot three, 180 pounds? Few could project a noodle like that would just keep growing into his frame, showing up at the NFL Combine at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds with a 10 and 1/8 inch handspan.

I believe the extreme polarization of opinion about Josh Allen’s potential for success stems from his being overlooked by scouts, ignored by colleges and doubted every step of the way during his remarkable career to date. Some continue to doubt he will become a successful NFL quarterback and almost seem emotionally invested in any sign of his impending failure. Even some analysts seem to cling to a negative thesis about the guy.

Is this attitude a reflection of the effect of social media on opinions about quarterbacks? It’s inexplicable to me how invested some are in predicting the demise of a quarterback picked seventh overall.

I honestly don’t recall fans dissing Jim Kelly and obsessing about how John Elway and Dan Marino would have been better choices in the 1983 NFL Draft. None of the fans I knew at the time were emotionally invested in proving their brilliance by claiming Dan Marino or John Elway was going to be a better quarterback than Jim Kelly at the beginning of their respective careers.

Imagine a world where Rosen, Darnold, Mayfield AND Allen turn into this generation’s Elway, Marino and Kelly. It will be fun to watch each develop their own unique style as NFL quarterbacks. Why can’t we just celebrate bringing a fresh round of exceptional talent at the quarterback position to the NFL instead of making it a constant battle of the stats?

Editor’s babble: I’m slowly starting to decompress from the trip of a lifetime to WNY. More dribble will be coming your way as my impressions congeal and spew out of the black hole that is my brain. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

6 Replies to “‘Wunderkind’ QB Josh Allen making recalcitrant critics a bit queasy”

  1. Thanks Robin….

    It is easier to predict failure of Josh Allen then it is to predict he or others will be stars. The odds are against all the QB’s trying to make the NFL but we do know that the higher the QB is drafted in the NFL his chances are better for success… But there are failures at the top of the draft at any position.

    The Brady’s, Romo’s, Warner, Wilson, Cousin’s etc are the exception as you can go by all the stats and charts but you can’t measure a persons will/heart to succeed.

    Josh Allen’s rise to the top is a great story and Bills fans will love it, a blue collar kid that played all sports growing up and had to earn his way the hard way. As a comparison Kelly grew up in Pittsburgh Pa.definitely blue collar, Joe Paterno recruited him but wanted to make him a LB–thank goodness he followed his dream to be a QB… Both Kelly and Allen are the type that people in Buffalo can and will relate to and they have an will reciprocate the feeling.

    Allen just like Kelly did when he came into his first game had the fans on their feet in anticipation…

    Elway was the clear cut favorite to be #1 in 83 but who ever thought the Chiefs would take Todd Blackledge #7 leaving Kelly and Marino on the board…. Back then there wasn’t social media to rev up the discussions… Myself I always relied on Pro Football Weekly…

  2. Interesting and timely article. I just read where passing accuracy can be improved on with technique and footwork drills for passes where the QB has time to get into proper position- in a well protected pocket for example. Where it has less chance to improve is for passes made on the run and under pursuit. Most other qualities can be improved on as well except for some very critical ones- decision making / visual processing, poise, arm talent, arm strength, leadership and coming through in the clutch.
    I like Josh’s chances to be the winner we all want him to be.
    I also (thankfully) don’t see or hear the overly critical negativity about his being selected by the Bills.
    The night of the game WBEN radio mentioned that Josh Allen threw the most exciting pass that was four yards out of bounds in Bills history. The anticipation and eagerness for his success is incredible. These are exciting times for Bills fans and watching Allen develop will be just as exciting as when he finally does become the starter.

  3. Learning more of Josh’s background does lead me to like him. Admittedly, I think Josh Rosen is going to be a very good NFL QB and was hoping the Bills selected him. However, I am a Bills fan and like Josh Allen and am hoping he can develop into a great NFL QB. Bills coaching/management have, I believe, the right approach in taking time to develop him and hopefully improve his mechanics to the point he can make NFL throws. Sounds like a good kid and God knows we can sure use another good positive person in this world. Good luck Josh Allen ! Let’s go Buffalo!

  4. Thanks for the new article Robyn!

    I never knew Allen was a scrawny kid in high school and has been a “late bloomer,” so that makes sense as to why he was not recruited by top colleges. It reminds me of the specials on the NFL network/ESPN. I think it was “The Brady 6,” by which they showed a picture of Brady with his shirt off at the combine and he looked a scrawny kid that would most likely be a third stringer at best. Now, I’m not comparing Allen to Brady, so don’t anyone flip out and have a cow, but it just goes to show you that looks aren’t everything and can be deceiving.

    One comparison that caught my eye, was comparing Allen’s TD on Thursday night to something only one other NFL QB in the league can do [Aaron Rodgers]. After seeing Allen live in action, I can see the potential with the rocket arm and the quick release. Right now, it’s building consistency with Allen. Both Peterman and McCarron are way ahead of Allen in regards to their play being consistent. I think once Allen has caught up with Peterman and McCarron on being as consistent, Allen will take over as starting QB. Whether that happens before week 1, during the season, next season or later down the road remains to be seen.

  5. “but it just goes to show you that looks aren’t everything and can be deceiving.”

    Well, that’s a huge reason why Allen was a top prospect…because he’s 6’5″ – 240. If he were 5’11” – 190 with the same rocket arm and college career, no doubt he’da been a late round pick at best. That’s primarily why Beane drafted him. Every time he talked about a franchise QB he’d start by saying he wanted a big, strong guy.

    • 5’11” 190…sounds like Drew Brees and he was a late bloomer as well.

      When Beane was describing the size of QB he wanted, I was hoping whoever he drafted was immobile as Cement Shoes Bledsoe. So far, Allen seems fairly mobile, especially for his size.

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