The New York Jets improved their shot at a franchise quarterback by trading up to have the No. 3 overall pick. Three of the four prospects could be great, but recent history does not bode well for Josh Allen as he’s the odd man out.
Josh Allen is the kind of quarterback prospect that scouts dream about. He has prototype size and unique athleticism. Scouts are on record saying he has the strongest arm they’ve ever seen. The elephant in the room is his accuracy. He’s finishing his college career with a 56.2 completion percentage.
You often here draft experts talk about the right coach improving a players accuracy. Recent history, however, suggests that this is not common if even achievable.
Here’s a list of the first round QB’s who’ve finished their last full college season with a completion percentage under 60 percent: Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, Michael Vick, Joey Harrington, Patrick Ramsay, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, J.P. Losman, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, and Jake Locker.
The list contains almost all busts with three exceptions in Vick, Cutler, and Ryan. Vick is a special case. Early in his career, he was such a dominant runner that the inaccurate passes didn’t hurt him as much as it would other players. Ryan seems to have had an outlier season his senior year. He was over 60 percent his junior and senior seasons and has a career 64.9 completion percentage.
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Cutler is interesting because he seems like a very strong comparison for Allen. He had big-time talent in college but played for a Vanderbilt team that was often overmatched. He’s had some nice seasons in the NFL but never really reached his ceiling. That has to do more with his attitude and work ethic than with his talent.
General manager Mike Maccagnan is at a career crossroads. Christian Hackenberg was a very similar prospect to Allen. His terrible accuracy never improved and he’s most likely done with the Jets. If Maccagnan blows this selection, he may never have another chance to select a quarterback as an NFL GM.
Players like Allen start as the quarterback of scouts dreams and then end up as the quarterback of a general manager’s nightmares. This selection will define the Jets for years to come. They just can’t afford to make it Josh Allen.