With the third pick in the NFL draft, the New York Jets are expected to select a quarterback. We'll preview the top four prospects -- Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen. First up: Allen.
Josh Allen, Wyoming
6-foot-5, 233 pounds
In a nutshell: Allen has the physical ability to change a franchise. With his size, athleticism and freakish arm strength, he's straight out of Central Casting. His physical traits have been compared to those of Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz. Allen came up the hard way -- the junior college route -- which speaks to his work ethic and character. He grew up on a farm in a two-traffic-light town in California's Central Valley; it would be a Hollywood-esque story if he lands in the Big Apple. The concern with Allen is that he's extremely raw; at Wyoming, he never had more than 270 attempts in a season. He can throw 80 yards in the air, but he has trouble fitting the ball into tight windows on short and intermediate throws, a must in the NFL. Some scouts say he lacks anticipation and doesn't have the touch to attack certain coverages. In three to five years, the general manager who drafts him will either be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy or looking for a new job.
How he fits the Jets: After living through the Christian Hackenberg debacle, Jets fans are understandably skittish when they hear the words "quarterback" and "project." Let's set the record straight: Allen is a much better prospect than Hackenberg, but he still qualifies as a risk because he's not a plug-and-play quarterback. He needs coaching and seasoning. Chances are, they'd "redshirt" him in 2018, allowing him to learn behind Josh McCown. From a scheme standpoint, Allen is a bad fit in a West Coast offense. The system is predicated on accuracy, timing and rhythm -- all areas in which he needs development. They'd have to overhaul the offense because Allen most certainly isn't a West Coast quarterback. The Jets have done a ton of homework on him. They scouted every game and sent a large contingent to his pro day and a private workout. They're in love with his arm talent, but they have legitimate concerns about his accuracy. He's not a slam-dunk pick for the Jets if he's still available at No. 3. He's the riskiest of the Big Four quarterbacks.
By the numbers: Allen's career completion percentage (56.2) has been the most scrutinized stat of any player. Critics say his accuracy issue will prevent him from reaching his full potential in the NFL. Typically, a quarterback's percentage doesn't improve at the next level. Supporters say he was victimized by a poor surrounding cast and that, unlike the other top prospects, he played in an offense that didn't allow for many gimme completions. Some of that is myth. Allen threw a higher percentage of short passes than Darnold, Mayfield and Rosen, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. In fact, 30 percent of his attempts traveled zero to 5 yards in the air. ... He went 16-10 as a starter over the past two seasons. ... He had only 10 games in which he completed 60 percent of his passes, and he had 20-plus completions in only one of those games (Gardner Webb, 2017). ... Quite frankly, he stunk in three career starts against Power 5 opponents: 0-3 record, one touchdown, eight interceptions and a 50 percent completion mark. ... His hand size is 10 1/8 inches, the largest of any quarterback at the scouting combine. ... He ran the 40 in 4.75 seconds, faster than the other top-three quarterbacks. ... He scored a 37 on his Wonderlic intelligence test, the highest of any quarterback.
What evaluators are saying: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: "I don't think his completion percentage matters anymore. That's history now. It is what it is. I think people have moved past that. He has made dramatic improvement, and he has silenced all those critics who say you can't draft a guy in the first round who completes 56 percent of his passes." ... NFL Network's Mike Mayock: "I don't think his feet and eyes are connected, and that's a big, big deal with quarterbacks. He's the most physically talented quarterback in this draft class, but he's got a lot of work to do with his footwork. ... The biggest-armed quarterback I've seen since JaMarcus Russell [No. 1 overall pick in 2007]." ... NFC scout: "He's a young country kid with a ton of talent who needs to mature a little bit."
In his own words: "Sometimes, the best quarterbacks aren't the guy that are taken No. 1. I think, depending on the situation of what that team needs, that's the quarterback that they want. And you can look in the past few drafts, it doesn't always turn out that the No. 1 quarterback is going to be this great player who leads your team to multiple Super Bowls and ends up in the Hall of Fame. That's just how it is. Getting drafted is only the start of your NFL career, and that has no impact on how you finish it." -- Allen at the scouting combine