by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

The other day I was having a text conversation with a New York Jets beat writer for one of New York’s daily papers. The conversation was about the quarterbacks, because as we all know, the Jets will be taking a quarterback with the third pick in the NFL Draft in three weeks.

During the course of the conversation Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen came up and this writer was trying to tell me that Allen compared to the Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan as a college quarterback. The reason for his comparison is that Ryan had less than a 60% completion percentage his final year at Boston College.

Having scouted Ryan thoroughly when he was at BC, I could easily make the comparison. Let’s talk about Ryan first.

Matt Ryan at Boston College

Ryan was a three year starter at BC from 2005 through the 2007 seasons. In those seasons, BC finished 9-3, 10-3 and 11-3 respectively in the ACC and that included Bowl wins in each of the three seasons. Boston College played a pro-style offense in those days with some spread formations in passing situations. In these years he was very productive. In 2005 he competed 121 of 195 throws for 62.1%, 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In 2006 he was 263 of 427 throws for 61.6 %, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his final season he completed 386 of 654 throws for over 4000 yards, 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. In the offense BC was playing there weren’t many high percentage bubble screen throws as most of his passes were downfield (I was at three games in 2007).

Ryan did play some as a freshman and completed only 49% of his 71 passes. For his career, he completed 59.9% of his passes but in his three years as a starter, his completion percentage was 60.5% and in the offense Boston College was playing, those were very good numbers.

Josh Allen at Wyoming

Now looking at Josh Allen, he only played two seasons at the Division I level as he was a junior college transfer. The offense that Wyoming plays is a college spread with a lot of half field reads and a high number of bubble screens. Wyoming also plays in the Mountain West Conference which is a step or two below the ACC as far as level of comparison and also is a very weak defensive conference.

IN 2016, Allen was 209 of 373 throws for 56%, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. This past season he missed two games because of a shoulder injury but in the 11 games played he completed 152 of 270 throws for 56.3%, 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Allen’s won/lost record the last two seasons was 8-6 in 2016 and 8-3 in 2017.

What’s even more important is that when Wyoming stepped up in competition and played Power 5 schools, Allen’s numbers dropped off. Against Nebraska in 2016 he was 16 of 32 for 189 yards, 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions. This past season versus Iowa he completed 23 of 40 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Ryan-Allen Comparisons

Allen is a little bigger than Ryan (6’5 – 235 to 6’4 220) and a better athlete. He also has a much better arm. While arm strength is good and helps in cold weather cities, accuracy is always the key stat. Over the last 10-12 years there has been no quarterback with a college completion percentage lower than 58% who came into the NFL and had success. If Allen is successful at the NFL level, he will be the first.

I have banged on Allen enough over the last six months so there is no need to go further, but to try an compare Allen to Matt Ryan as college quarterbacks is absurd. The comparison isn’t close!

Read Greg Gabriel’s scouting report on Josh Allen.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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