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Josh Allen has the strongest arm in college football, but must improve other aspects of his game

Arm strength alone does not solidify a status as a top-10 pick.

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Iowa
Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. 
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen chose to stay in school at the University of Wyoming to polish his game. The red-shirt junior quarterback has a ton of raw talent, but he still has some on-field maturity issues. There’s been first-round hype surrounding Allen — even top 10 hype — but he’s yet to perform at that level.

The Wyoming star has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback at 6’5” and 223 pounds, and is built with a strong upper body that gives defenders difficulty when trying to tackle him. Coming out of a pro-style system, his game won’t require a transitional period once he’s drafted to a team. He has completed 213/379 for 3254 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He’s also added 145 carries, 563 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He lead the Cowboys to the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl, but turned in an underwhelming performance going 17/32, 207 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT. Allen has a cannon for an arm — possibly the strongest arm in college football — but like many gunslingers, he trusts his arm a bit too much.

NCAA Football: Poinsettia Bowl-Brigham Young vs Wyoming
Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass in the first quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars during the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths: Allen is a quarterback that can be trusted to sling it all over the field for four quarters. His mechanics are clean and polished, and arm strength will never be a problem for him in the NFL. There isn’t a long-distance throw that he can’t make, nor a part of the field that he can’t attack. He throws on the run at an elite level, and his release is quick enough to squeeze it into tight windows during broken plays.

He shows tenacity, escapability and above-average athleticism for a QB, but despite his quickness and athleticism, his average top-end speed won’t outrun many defenders for big gains. He throws a very accurate deep ball, giving his receivers ample time to run underneath throws. Despite his ability to throw fastballs, he flashes ability to put great touch on throws too.

Allen shows excellent ability to see the field and read through his progressions. He’s not afraid to step up in the pocket and deliver a dime downfield when his first option isn’t open.

Playing at Wyoming doesn't scream “national title contender,” but the lack of talent is actually astounding. Allen would often be running for his life with a mediocre offensive line, and receivers would drop easily catchable balls. Allen has made his share of mistakes, but he has rarely been helped by his teammates. It makes it all the more impressive that Allen has been able to carry such an inferior team on his back. Former NFL quarterback acknowledged this on Twitter.

Former NFL QB Sage Rosenfels tweets his disapproval of Wyoming’s talent.

Weaknesses: While Allen displays the ability to read through his progressions, he often trusts his arm too much by forcing passes that are no longer there. He has a bad habit of letting it rip into a window that is too tight, or forcing something out of nothing on a broken play. The stereotype of a gunslinger QB is that they take risks many won’t, but for Allen, that occurs too often. He has thrown 15 interceptions on 379 passes entering last Saturday’s game. He must cut down on the forced throws and interceptions, and must learn to call a play dead.

These are throws that should never be made.

This is another forced throw to no one in particular.

He needs to cut down on the amount of fastballs he throws. He has the tendency to sail passes by rushing throws with too much velocity on them. He needs to show more touch on short to intermediate throws. His touch is far too inconsistent for the NFL level.

Allen is very susceptible to mental crumbles that lead to a domino effect. Once a couple of mistakes take place, he isn’t the same player the rest of the game. He showed it last season against Nebraska and BYU, before showing it once again against Iowa in the Cowboys’ season opener last Saturday. He needs to develop mental toughness, resiliency and poise under pressure. Just because Allen can fill up a stat sheet, doesn’t mean he wins games — something he needs to learn how to do against high level of competition. Decision making and accuracy under pressure will be the top concerns of Allen’s game.

Overall assessment: Is Josh Allen a first-round talent? Yes. Is he worthy of a top-10 pick? Not yet. The talent and mechanics are there, along with an arm that NFL teams will drool over, but the on-field maturity isn’t, yet. If Allen can improve as a decision maker, it will propel his stock into the top-10. This past Saturday, Allen did not show much improvement against Iowa. Granted, Wyoming’s offense was outmatched by a swarming Hawkeyes defense, but Allen still showed questionable decision making and accuracy. It’s not fair to judge him off of two bad games — at Iowa and Nebraska — and say that he needs a ton of work. His body of work speaks for itself, but he’s not polished yet. However, due to the desperation of NFL teams, I think a team will reach for him regardless if he deserves to be a top-10 pick or not.

Prediction: Top-10 pick.