Should Wyoming QB Josh Allen declare for the 2017 NFL draft?

NCAA Football: Poinsettia Bowl-Brigham Young vs WyomingOne of the potential quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL draft, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, has been receiving some buzz on Twitter after Tony Pauline of the Draft Analyst recently reported that the redshirt sophomore passer was strongly considering declaring for the draft.

The news has been met with a variety of opinions, many of which suggest he’d be best served returning to school for his junior season in an effort to become a more consistent passer.

I disagree.

Allen isn’t a finished product.  Far from it, actually.  But of all the quarterbacks who could potentially be in this year’s class, Allen possesses the highest upside with the best combination of NFL traits.  Simply put, he checks all the boxes.  He’s big, athletic and has the most gifted arm of any passer that’s eligible to turn pro.

Allen has a cannon of an arm. In fact, I’d call his natural arm talent rare.  He can make every throw, effortlessly, with a simple flick of his wrist.  His completion percentage — 56.0 — will naturally raise questions about his accuracy, but I don’t see it as a glaring problem.  He needs work and he won’t be ready to play for at least a season or two, but once he’s coached up by an NFL staff, his upside is far greater than any of the other quarterbacks.

The only thing Allen is lacking is experience.

If he decides to return to school, he could have a breakout year and be a contender for the first-overall pick in 2018.  But I’m not so sure the risk is worth it.  He’s going to grade out as a first-round prospect by several teams if he declares this year, and could end up as a top-10 player when it’s all said and done.  Aside from bragging rights and a few dollars, it doesn’t seem wise to return for another year of college ball when the risk of injury may outweigh any potential reward.

There are several quarterback-needy teams drafting early in this year’s first round.  The Browns, 49ers, Bears, Jets and Bills are all in the top 10 and will be in the market for a franchise quarterback.  Assuming the Browns go with Myles Garrett with the first pick, there will four teams very much in play for Allen.

Other first-round quarterback prospects like Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer and Deshaun Watson all have promising attributes and traits worthy of first-round status.  But none of them have Allen’s arm talent.  If a team is willing to roll with a veteran bridge quarterback for a year or two, Allen will be a no-brainer at the top of round one.

Whether it’s this year or next, Allen is going to be a big-time prospect at the NFL’s most important position.  With so much uncertainty in the sport of football, players like Allen have to seize the moment and turn pro when all signs point toward being a first-round pick.