Josh Allen knows what it feels like to be overlooked and doubted, and now the Buffalo Bills quarterback is sharing some motivation with another top prospect in a similar situation.
Allen shared some wisdom with North Dakota State signal-caller Trey Lance, who is making the jump to the NFL and faces much of the same criticism that Allen saw three years ago. Allen shared his advice as part of the NFL’s “Take The Stage” video series, telling Lance to drown out the people casting doubt on whether he could make the jump to the NFL from such a small school.
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Allen Imparts Wisdom
As he prepares for the NFL Draft later this month, Lance faces a situation similar to what Allen saw in 2018. Both were part of highly touted quarterback classes, and both were up against competitors who played for much larger and more high-profile schools. Allen told Lance that he had to ignore all of that and focus on himself.
“Let me tell you something. You’re always going to have doubters,” Allen told Lance in the “Take the Stage” series. “I’ve heard it all before. ‘You’re not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL. You’re untested. Your competition is too weak.’ Ignore them. Get on the field and let your game do the talking. It’s time to make some noise, Trey.”
Coming into the 2018 NFL Draft, Allen faced some fierce criticism due to his lesser competition and more pedestrian college stats. Through two seasons as the full-time starter at Wyoming, Allen completed just a shade over 56 percent of his passes. Bill Connelly, then of SB Nation, projected that Allen would have a career success rate of 43.3 percent (and had former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson at 47.4 percent). That put Allen behind almost everyone else in the 2018 draft class.
“If you’re likely to finish, at best, two to three percent below your college success rate, that means his ceiling is around 40.5 to 41 percent,” Connelly wrote. “That’s Ryan Mallett territory (40.8 percent). As a ceiling. Are we sure we’re willing to spend a top-five pick on a guy who might, with some good breaks, become Ryan Mallett?”
Bills Believed in Allen
While Allen learned to ignore the doubters, he seemed to have high support within the Bills organization. The franchise believed in him enough to trade the No. 12, No. 53, and No. 56 picks to move up to the No. 7 spot and take him ahead of Josh Rosen, a quarterback who many had ranked higher than Allen. The Bills then trusted Allen enough to put him in open competition with second-year quarterback Nathan Peterman at his rookie training camp, allowing Allen to move into the starting role by Week 2.
Though Allen did not have many reliable weapons during his rookie season, the team had gradually built around him, bringing in John Brown and Cole Beasley for his second year and Stefon Diggs for his breakout third season.
It is not clear if another team would have the same faith in Lance. As Tim Keown of ESPN noted, he is considered a somewhat mysterious prospect, having demonstrated his physical and mental abilities to scouts but lacking in repetitions needed to make a complete evaluation.
Allen may get a closer look at Lance starting next season. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports projects that Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will move up the draft board, trading up to the No. 4 pick to snag him.
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