Max Thompson

When the Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen in the first round of the 2018 draft, they expected him to be the leader of the franchise for the next decade and beyond. 

Will that be the case? Who knows! He has shown flashes of unique potential in just two seasons, but has also struggled with fundamental accuracy skills. 

Before we talk about Allen, it is crucial that we really set the record straight on what it means to be overrated. If someone “has a higher opinion of someone than they truly deserve,” that person is overrated. That means that anyone and anything can claim that designation.

Aaron Rodgers is undeniably a fantastic football player. But if everyone was fully convinced that he was the single greatest athlete of all time, he would be overrated. I cannot stress this enough: being designated as overrated is not calling someone bad. It is merely stating that the collective football community is giving them more credit than they’re due.

By that sentiment, there is no doubt that Josh Allen is overrated. Many casual fans view Allen as a 23-year-old quarterback that is on his way to being an elite starter or, at the worst, a sturdy team leader. As of right now, he is incredibly far from either of those expectations. The first sign of that would be how he fared in his 2019 campaign. His completion percentage over expected (CPOE) was 22nd in the league, and ProFootballFocus graded him as the 24th-best starterlast year. That put him in the bottom third of the league in both statistics. In other words, he was bad. 

Someone may claim that he is a young player with plenty of time to improve. That is true, and he may very well be on his way to improving. Take his ranking in ESPN’s Quarterback Rating (QBR), the leading statistic in evaluating QB play. In 2018, he struggled mightily and finished as the 24th-best quarterback in QBR. Last year, however, he showed his development and finished as the 24th-best quarterback in QBR. No, that is not a typo. In terms of QBR, he literally did not develop a single bit last year.

Someone may claim that he just needs more time, and that may also be true. However, it is critical to understand that even now, there are other young signal callers who have objectively outperformed Allen. Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray all had a better QBR than Allen. Worst of all, that isn’t even considering other emerging superstars like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.

The final argument that a diehard Bills fan could muster would be something along the lines of “Well Josh Allen has only struggled because he didn’t have any help!” Unfortunately, this too is deeply flawed. If Allen is struggling this much without help, how come Kyler Murray and Sam Darnold don’t get that same designation? Kyler Murray’s leading receivers were two running backs and a 36-year-old Larry Fitzgerald. In addition, none of the other four receivers had been with the Cardinals for more than a year. But yeah, tell me all about how Josh Allen needed help.

I hope this article ages like expired milk. I hope that Josh Allen learns to read a defense and make the pinpoint throws necessary to succeed in the NFL. This year, he will have the pleasure of playing with an elite reciever in Stefon Diggs, giving Allen another reason to improve. 

Despite this, we need to temper our opinions of him. He is not anywhere close to the level of Mahomes or Jackson. Additionally, there is a litany of other young QBs that have outperformed him so far. Allen is closer to Mitch Trubisky than he is to Ryan Tannehill. That’s not even an opinion, that is an objective observation from last season. Allen’s QBR was closer to Trubisky than it was to Tannehill. 

Overrated has become such a cliche sports term that the term itself is now overrated. Nevertheless, Josh Allen and his performance is such a perfect description of this word that this article had to be written. 

Max Thompson is a freshman majoring in business management and journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at sthomp92@vols.utk.edu. Follow @The_Out_Route on Twitter for high-quality NFL analysis!

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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