The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and there are high expectations surrounding their rookie quarterback to bring them back to the postseason.
Buffalo, who had the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, exchanged picks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select Josh Allen.
With minicamp underway, Allen has already gotten the attention from one leader on the offense, LeSean McCoy. A compliment from the running back like this is sincere, considering he isn’t fond of rookies.
According to the team transcript reported by NFL.com, McCoy said:
"I have to be honest, he’s pretty good. As a talent level, he’s going to be good for a lot of years and I want to be part of that when he takes over eventually. (We) took him early in the draft, so that’s common sense. He’s special, that’s for sure."
McCoy isn’t Allen’s only teammate who is enamored with the rookies skill set. Cornerback Tre’Davious White believes he will be one of the top quarterbacks in this class.
To be able to win your teammates over in such a short period of time is extremely telling of Allen’s character and work ethic. But, is it warranted before playing a single snap?
Can you blame McCoy and White for being good teammates? Absolutely not, but they need to keep Allen in check. There is already a certain amount of pressure for athletes to perform at a high level after being selected in the first round.
The Bills have added to this by having Allen take first-team reps this early in the offseason. Allen joins a depth chart that includes AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman. He should be able to surpass Peterman with ease, but it’s not a given that he gets the nod over McCarron.
McCarron has been in the NFL for four years but has a very small sample size. He was stuck behind Andy Dalton and only started in three games. In those three games he threw for 920 yards, six touchdowns and only two interceptions. The Bills should have McCarron working with the starters and ease Allen in, especially since there were a few distinct uncertainties surrounding the former Wyoming quarterback.
The 6-foot-5 signal caller definitely has the size and arm strength, but his decision-making is a concern. In his last two seasons combined he threw 21 interceptions, the second most amongst the quarterbacks that were selected in this year’s first round.
He could have easily had the most out of that group if he played a full season in 2017. We are accustomed to watching rookie quarterbacks who play too early in their career make mistakes on a consistent basis.
In addition, Allen did not face the best competition while at Wyoming. His overall statistics were good, but not great based on what he was up against. Yes, Carson Wentz faced little talent at North Dakota State, but he lit up the stat sheet.
Before we proclaim Allen as a future star in the NFL, he needs to prove that he no longer has these deficiencies. Buffalo has set the bar high, but should focus on developing him not praising him before playing a single down.