Josh Allen dropped jaws with how easily he flung the ball around at the NFL Scouting combine last week.
The Wyoming quarterback zipped passes effortlessly toward the sideline, then really impressed by uncorking beautiful deep throws to streaking wideouts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
But then, arm talent has never been the question with Allen.
“The biggest arm quarterback I’ve seen since JaMarcus Russell,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said in a conference call.
The arm strength comparison to Russell is an encouraging one, as the Raiders made the LSU quarterback the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. But NFL success never came for Russell, who went 7-18 as a starter with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a 52.1 career completion percentage before washing out after only three seasons.
Inaccuracy plagued Russell, and that is the main concern with Allen. The velocity on his passes is enough to fit the ball in tight windows, but consistent misplacement would undercut that strength. It’s something Allen is aiming to correct in advance of the draft.
“I’m just working on consistent footwork,” Allen said. “Kind of every throw that I had this past season where I missed, it was derived from my feet. … I feel like whenever my feet are set, I’m as accurate as anybody.”
Allen’s journey to the precipice of the NFL began modestly. He was raised on a farm in Firebaugh, California, about 40 miles west of Fresno, where he would sometimes get tasked to help with the hard labor.
“It was about a 2,000-acre operation,” Allen said. “My dad owned a thousand acres of it. Strictly row crops of cotton, cantaloupe and wheat. During the summers, helping my dad move irrigation pipe, picking…