As the Jacksonville Jaguars evaluate the quarterback position, it’s important to not lose sight of Brandon Allen who may quietly be positioned as the future of the position.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Brandon Allen in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft it was lauded as great value. Even with Blake Bortles poised to build on a breakout 2015 sophomore campaign, having a young quarterback waiting in the wings to step in for veteran backup Chad Henne was considered a wise move.
"Chad Henne has made a ton of money as a backup, but the Jags need to start planning for life after the “Henne era”. Allen is experienced in a pro-style system and has some “gamer” to him, ideal if he ever needed to start in a pinch. The size and arm talent are there. – Mark Dulgerian"
With Bortles struggling in his third season, the backup quarterback position rose to prominence. 2016 saw calls for Henne to start and Bortles to sit and learn or even be completely moved on from. The hype around Bortles completely dissipated through one trainwreck of a season.
With Henne entering his last season (entering free agency in 2018) with the Jaguars, the conversation around backup quarterback is heating up again. Mike Kaye of First Coast News made the case for Ryan Nassib (a player brought into the NFL by executive vice president Tom Coughlin and coached in college by head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett), which is one of the more compelling options both in ties to the team and potential.
But the Jags may be set already. It is easy to overlook Allen, especially because he hasn’t provided much competition as of yet, but his numbers at Arkansas in a pro-style offense make him much more interesting than his draft position would suggest.
Boasting an impressive 9.3 yards per attempt (sixth best in college) in his fourth season in college, Allen beat out first round draft picks Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz as well as rookie sensation Dak Prescott. His 30 touchdowns put him 12th in the FBS and of those other stud 2016 rookies, only Goff beat him. Likewise, he held the sixth-best passing efficiency rating (166.5) which beat those other 2016 rookies.
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In comparing Allen to the more coveted passers from 2016, it’s clear that he could have been in the conversation among potential starters if he wasn’t sitting behind Henne and Bortles. If Bortles struggles again in 2017, it would be easy to make the call to start Allen instead, at least to see what he can deliver based on his impressive collegiate production and the flashes he has displayed in limited time with the Jags.
This isn’t to say that Allen is a slam dunk or a guarantee, but he is a compelling option that is already on the roster. The Jags may never be forced to evaluate him as a starter if Bortles rebounds, but it’s comforting to continue thinking that Allen is there to step in and possibly be the quarterback of the future if the need arises.