Buffalo Bills: Rookie Expectations for Josh Allen

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 2: Quarterback Josh Allen
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 2: Quarterback Josh Allen /

The Buffalo Bills made their intentions to start from scratch at the quarterback position clear from their offseason moves. Was Josh Allen the right foundation for their rebuild?

It’s not often we talk about a playoff team in the midst of a rebuild. The Buffalo Bills were early sellers in 2018, after dealing highly talented players like Roland Darby, Sammy Watkins, and Marcel Dareus. They would go on to defy NFL fan expectations by making the playoff for the first time in 17 years. And boy did they enjoy it.


Personnel decisions during this past offseason accelerated this process. Despite trading away young, promising players, they managed to get younger and more talented.

Tyrod Taylor and Corey Glenn were the most notable to go. This ultimately opened up the door for the need of a quarterback for their future.

Josh Allen fits the profile of this young Bills team perfectly. Most players drafted over the past two years have been very raw, with boom or bust potential. Allen might just have the highest ceiling out of all rookie quarterbacks from his class. However, he does have the lowest floor.

And that is no hyperbole.

His potential ranges from as low as Jake Locker, to as average as Jay Cutler, and as good as Matthew Stafford.

Allen’s case overall is a difficult one to evaluate from college tape alone. His team was terrible and filled with low-quality talent that would only stand out on an FCS team.

It’s no surprise his completion percentage was 56.3% in 2017. It is also worth noting Allen had an average of 11.6 yards for depth of targets this past season.

Conversely, plenty of bad plays were made off of boneheaded mistakes.

With all of these reasons in mind, there is only one thing the Bills should do with Allen in 2018. Do not start him early. Whatever they do, do not start him early in 2018. At an absolute maximum, he should only play in the last two games in sparing time.

Allen is undoubtedly not ready to play yet. He is the definition of a work in progress.  Although, the final outcome is worth it. They brought in veteran backup AJ McCarron to be their starter. He will be good enough to play all year and win some ball games.

2018 needs to be the time for his growth. Hand him a clipboard and allow him to soak in as much as possible. The Bills have already made indications to take things slow with Allen.

Right now, Allen has worked his way into some first-team reps, as part of his developmental plan. The time for him to learn is in practice with the first teamers and in the preseason. If he is not even the slightest bit ready, throwing him into a regular season game can be devastating for a young quarterback’s psyche.

The quarterback position is unlike any other in the sport. There is a reason why we see so many high draft picks bust out of the league in five years of being drafted. There is an enormous target on their heads from fans the minute the stumble. For other positions, they need to learn from hands-on game experience. In Allen’s case, he won’t get the right experience if he is not comfortable reading defenses, calling plays, and tightening up his accuracy.