Firebaugh’s Josh Allen might be coming off a down season.
But he’s still considered the top NFL Draft prospect, according to famed ESPN mock draft analyst Mel Kiper.
“My evaluations on this quarterback class are really close,” Kiper wrote. “I’ve gone back and forth a few times on Josh Rosen (of UCLA), Sam Darnold (of USC) and Allen, but I just moved Allen up to my No. 1 quarterback.”
Allen’s production certainly dipped this past season as a junior at Wyoming, completing 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards (164.7 per game) and 16 touchdowns to six interceptions.
As a sophomore, Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards (228.8 per game) and 28 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
There are other measurables, though, that resonate with Kiper.
Particularly Allen’s prototype NFL size at 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 233 pounds.
“His numbers aren’t impressive, I know,” Kiper wrote. “But the NFL is all about projection, and he has a high ceiling. Coaches want to work with the 6’5 Allen because he has all of the tools.”
Allen’s play already has generated much debate on social media.
But whether he’s receiving praise or criticism, Allen is likely to be a center of attention entering the NFL Draft, which runs April 26-28.
That was far from the case when he was coming out of Firebaugh High back in 2014. Allen didn’t receive a college football scholarship offer, including from Fresno State, and instead began his post-high school career at Reedley College.
The not-so-thrilling news for Allen should he be selected No. 1 overall – the Cleveland Browns currently own the top pick and are expected to take a quarterback.
The organization has struggled to develop a franchise quarterback for three decades despite drafting 14 quarterbacks in that span, including four in the first round (Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel).
In all, Kiper projects four quarterbacks to be taken in the first round, including two others among the top five.