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Josh Allen’s stats don’t matter? That’d be for the best, because they lag behind almost all other first-round QBs of the last decade

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Let’s look at his numbers compared to those drafted before him.

Poinsettia Bowl - BYU v Wyoming Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has been talked about a great deal ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s 6’5, 233 pounds, and has a truly special amount of arm strength. The thing is, he just wasn’t very productive in college.

USC’s Sam Darnold is the favorite to be the first player taken in April, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has been banging the table for Allen as the No. 1 overall pick for the Cleveland Browns in his mock drafts since January.

After publishing his first mock draft of the year, Kiper went on a teleconference about this year’s class and said this about Allen:

In the two months since he said that, Kiper has doubled down on his opinion that Allen’s stats aren’t a red flag:

Look, it’s true that stats don’t tell the whole story. But it’s not entirely fair to write off Allen’s completely, especially when looking at past first-round quarterbacks.

In Allen’s junior season, he completed 56 percent of his passes, threw 16 touchdowns with six interceptions, and had a 127.8 passer rating. So how do Allen’s stats compare to first-round quarterbacks of the past? Well, he’s not quite up to par.

I looked at the final college seasons of all the first-round quarterbacks from the last decade, and their careers went a ton of different ways — some of them turned out to be massive successes, and some of them were busts. But as far as final-year stats go, Allen’s numbers were worse than or the same as all but a small handful of recent first-rounders, depending on which number you use.

There were 30 quarterbacks taken in the first round from 2007-17, and here’s how the numbers from Allen’s final college season stacks up against each:

Final-year college stats by first-round QBs, 2007-2017, including potential 2018 first-rounders

QB Drafted by Completion % Passer Rating TDs per INT
QB Drafted by Completion % Passer Rating TDs per INT
Jake Locker, Washington Titans 55 124 1.9
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri Jags 63 127 1.8
Matt Ryan, Boston College Falcons 59 127 1.6
Josh Allen, Wyoming TBD 56 128 2.6
Mitchell Trubisky, UNC Bears 68 158 5
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M Dolphins 62 133 1.9
Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (2008) Rams 68 181 6.3
Christian Ponder, FSU Vikings 62 136 2.5
Josh Freeman, Kansas State Bucs 59 137 2.5
Joe Flacco, Delaware Ravens 64 145 4.6
Jameis Winston, FSU Bucs 65 146 1.4
Josh Rosen, UCLA TBD 63 147 2.6
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame Browns 62 147 5.3
Sam Darnold, USC TBD 63 148 2
Deshaun Watson, Clemson Texans 67 151 2.4
Carson Wentz, NDSU Eagles 63 152 4.3
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Vikings 71 171 7.8
Matthew Stafford, Georgia Lions 61 154 2.5
EJ Manuel, FSU Bills 68 156 2.3
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech Chiefs 66 157 4.1
Paxton Lynch, Memphis Broncos 67 158 7
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State Browns 72 160 2.8
Jared Goff, Cal Rams 65 161 3.3
Blake Bortles, UCF Jags 68 163 2.8
Geno Smith, West Virginia Jets 71 164 7
Tim Tebow, Florida Broncos 68 164 4.2
Mark Sanchez, USC Jets 66 165 3.4
JaMarcus Russell, LSU Raiders 68 167 3.5
Andrew Luck, Stanford Colts 71 170 3.7
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Browns 70 173 2.8
Marcus Mariota, Oregon Titans 68 182 10.5
Cam Newton, Auburn Panthers 66 182 4.3
Robert Griffin, Baylor Washington 72 190 6.2
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma TBD 71 199 7.2

Stats aside, even when looking at Allen’s game film, there are still some obvious concerns about his game.

And as for that second part of Kiper’s take, it’s hard to recommend Allen just based on his team’s record.

Wyoming went 15-9 against FBS teams with Allen as a starter, thanks in large part to a solid defense. It’s absolutely true that’s a good mark for the Cowboys, who hadn’t won eight games in a season since 2011.

But if we’re gonna make No. 1 picks out of every QB who wins a Mountain West division and/or the Potato Bowl, we could pick Boise State’s Brett Rypien or Idaho’s Matt Linehan, who were two of the many QBs to outrank Allen in passer rating in both of the last two years.

Stats don’t tell the whole story of a draft prospect’s future performance — since a few of these QBs with rough final college seasons had pro success — and I’m by no means saying Allen isn’t worthy of being a successful quarterback in the league. But overlooking his concerning numbers does mean placing a lot of faith in his talent.