The San Francisco 49ers are likely to target a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, and Niner Noise looks at the possibilities of Wyoming’s Josh Allen being a target.
The 2018 NFL Draft is a long ways away, but it’s pretty apparent the San Francisco 49ers are going to be on the hunt for a franchise signal-caller on draft day.
San Francisco’s incumbent, Brian Hoyer, has largely been ineffective over five games as a starter, and there’s no reason to assume he’s a long-term option for head coach Kyle Shanahan. Hoyer’s backup, rookie C.J. Beathard, might be an enticing thought. But it would be premature to consider Beathard a realistic option to start regularly a year from now.
Enter Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen.
I’ll admit, I’m a little biased towards Allen — a Northern California native playing his collegiate ball at a school near where part of my family is from.
Enough about sentiments, though. Allen is a prospect the Niners could easily consider when the 2018 draft rolls around.
There were more than a few prospect projections predicting Allen would be a first-round target. Five games into Wyoming’s 2017 campaign, though, Allen’s production has forced a bit of a slip:
CBS Sports now has the junior listed as the No. 42 overall prospect this season, likely going early in Round 2.
Regardless whether or not this projection changes, let’s look at the reasons why San Francisco might be enticed by targeting Allen.
San Francisco 49ers
A Tale of Two Opinions
It’s not hard to find arguments out there stating Allen doesn’t have what it takes to be successful at the NFL level. Just look on Twitter or within the comments on NFL Draft quarterback projections.
But Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller — someone whose draft opinions I both value and respect — has been high on Allen for quite some time.
"Josh Allen has rare traits in terms of arm strength and athleticism; after watching him in person I’d say his arm is the strongest I’ve ever seen. Allen is able to make difficult throws from any platform and can easily throw a 25-yard out route on a line from the opposite hash.You could counter that and say neither Manning nor Tom Brady have a huge arm or great athleticism, but they’re rare in terms of preparation, football IQ and leadership. Allen’s physical traits are similar to Cam Newton; and he made it to a Super Bowl and won an MVP without being incredibly accurate."
You can see more of the comparisons between Allen and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the video below:
Miller is obviously pointing out one of the major concerns with Allen — accuracy. The quarterback’s 56.0 completion percentage at the collegiate level is a bit of a concern.
But the positives appear to outweigh this, even if those on social media would disagree.
More on Josh Allen
The general consensus is the 2018 draft has much more quarterbacking talent than 2017, and Allen is certainly in the mix.
But according to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, Allen has a higher ceiling than top-ranked prospects like USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen:
"College football is loaded with talented signal-callers, but Allen has the highest ceiling of the entire group. I struggle to come up with a good player comparison for him. He’s way ahead of Chiefs first-round pick Patrick Mahomes from a development standpoint and I think he has a much higher upside."
Josh Allen a Fit with the 49ers?
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is going to be particular with his quarterback of choice in 2018. And just because the Niners are likely to have an early pick in the upcoming NFL Draft doesn’t mean Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will use their first pick to target the best quarterback available.
Assuming Allen doesn’t break into Round 1 — it’s too early to tell — the Niners’ second pick in the draft might be the spot where Allen goes.
Insofar as the fit, which is more important, Allen does display many of the traits Shanahan might prefer.
Jeremiah explained more:
"He has Joe Flacco’s frame/arm strength and he’s more athletic than Carson Wentz. Speaking of Wentz, Allen is playing in the same college system that Wentz did, and that’s a big plus. He spends a lot of time under center and this isn’t a dink and dunk spread attack."
Anyone who has watched Shanahan’s offense knows he prefers someone under center operating within the pocket, which is exactly what Hoyer has done five weeks into 2017.
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The college tape shows Allen’s ability to operate this way. But the quarterback’s 523 rushing yards in 2016 also suggest he’s capable of moving out of the pocket if needed — an added dimension, should Shanahan see such.
There’s a lot to take place between now and the 2018 NFL Draft, so it’s impossible to accurately speculate whether or not Allen will fit into the 49ers plans.
Shanahan and Co. could easily be eyeing other quarterbacking prospects just as much, if not more so, than Allen. Maybe Beathard is the secret weapon the Niners are looking to groom. We just don’t know.
But for argument’s sake, we certainly can’t rule out the thought San Francisco winds up being a serious contender for Allen’s services.