Mel Kiper is testing our suspension of disbelief in his latest mock draft. Mock drafts may be fictional draft day scenarios, but Kiper is dwelling in the land of magical realism.
Stop it, Mel.
Kiper has Rosen going to the Giants at No. 2 and USC’s Sam Darnold going to the Broncos at No. 5. Baker Mayfield, who is generally regarded as being in the second tier of quarterbacks with Allen, is mocked to the Redskins at No. 13.
Allen is, no doubt, the type of person who will rise during the predraft process. But an ascent to the top of the draft is hard to believe. Patriots tight end and former Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister told The Big Lead that Allen is the kind of quarterback that teams would want in the huddle. He’s a field general and is a leader. The Senior Bowl and predraft interviews will be where Allen moves up the board. He’s likely a first-rounder, and a player who has flashed talent.
However, Kiper acknowledged one of Allen’s shortcomings: “His numbers aren’t impressive.”
Those searching for a Carson Wentz comparison won’t find one. With a 6.6 yard per attempt average, Allen would sooner draw a comparison to Blaine Gabbert, according The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk. Allen had a solid season in 2016. But his stats in 2017 were downright unimpressive. Allen did lose a number of teammates last season to the draft, and so he had to do it all on his own this season. But the Browns went 0-16. It’s not like Allen would be inheriting a great deal of NFL talent.
In 2016, Allen had 1,812 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He also added 204 rushing yard and five rushing touchdowns.
So the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft will be fresh off throwing 1,812 passing yards in the Mountain West conference? Come on.
What’s more, Allen couldn’t handle the big stage — or the stronger competition. In Wyoming’s toughest games against Iowa, Oregon, and Boise State, Allen went 44 of 91 (48 percent) for 369 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Kiper’s selection of Allen has another foundational problem. Here’s how he kicked off his summary of the pick:
“Cleveland has to take a quarterback. Has to.”
No, they don’t.
They probably should. This draft is loaded with top talent at quarterback. But the Browns just spent a second-round pick on DeShone Kizer. They don’t have to give up on him just yet, as bad as he looked. They can draft another position. The Raiders’ model of grabbing Khalil Mack in the first round and Derek Carr in the second round worked out well. Taking a quarterback with the No. 1 pick has its drawbacks.
This isn’t to bash Allen, who could someday be a solid NFL quarterback. Rosen and Darnold are simply better pro prospects than Allen. Heck, Kiper’s argument that Allen might someday be the best quarterback could come true — if he’s not on the Browns. If the Browns take him at No. 1, he’ll get thrust into action right away. He’s not ready for that, which is proof enough he should go first-overall.
The risks associated with taking Allen don’t merit the top pick — especially when there are other quarterbacks in the draft class with plenty of polish.