Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room takes a deep dive into the play of Wyoming QB Josh Allen and raises questions about what the NFL values from the quarterback position.
Unless I begin writing fiction, evaluating quarterbacks will be the hardest job I’ll ever love. Considering that quarterbacking is widely regarded as the most difficult position in sport, it’s not a surprise.
One can draw parallels between quarterbacking and boxing, pitching, cooking, music performance, and management, yet each parallel only manages to encompass some of the complexities of the position. Because there are so many physical, intellectual, emotional, technical, and leadership components to quarterbacking, I often find myself circling back to the thought that the most important skills that separate the best can’t be taught.
The degree of size, physicality, and arm strength found in Josh Allen’s game can’t be taught. Pair those traits with experience playing from the I-formation and the NFL establishment sees a player whose game speaks their native language.
This week’s RSP Film Room will detail which plays from Allen’s portfolio speak that language and why some of the criticisms levied against his game could force analysts to prematurely write off Allen’s potential to develop into a successful pro.
I’ll also show traits that are notably inconsistent or missing from Allen’s game that are arguably most important to the position that may also be unteachable — components of quarterback play that the NFL hopes its prospects possess as latent qualities when they enter the league and will somehow bring to the surface with study, coaching, and playing experience.
I’m not nearly as high on Allen as some of the draft analysts working for the big networks and I also think that the ways Allen and Lamar Jackson are characterized are symptomatic of the blind spots that exist in our society at large. However, none of this is Allen’s fault.
While I believe Allen’s game offers significantly bigger risks for a player often assigned an early-round grade, I also see skills that translate to pro football and a path where he could become a successful long-term starter.
As is often the case with quarterback evaluation, it’s rarely simple.
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