The NFL Draft is a funny old thing. At the time of the 2018 NFL Draft there were plenty of questions about Josh Allen and how the Wyoming Cowboys quarterback would transition to life in the NFL. That is why Allen – clearly a player in the top three at his position in the entire league in 2022 – slipped to the Buffalo Bills and the No. 7 overall pick.
Buffalo believed in Allen enough to trade up to that lucky No. 7 spot to take Allen. It was a move considered a risk at the time but looking at the players taken above Allen in that draft – and especially those at the quarterback position – it was an absolute master stroke by the front office of evaluating talent, fit, and need.
The posterchild for that draft was supposed to be Baker Mayfield, not Josh Allen. Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft after monster seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners from 2015 through 2017 after transferring from Texas Tech. Mayfield passed for over 12,000 yards and for 119 touchdowns in three seasons in Norman and he was seen as having the skillset to transition smoothly into an NFL offense.
Mayfield, however, has been nothing short of a bust. Be it issues with scheme or health – or largely a combination of the two – he flamed out after four seasons as a Cleveland Brown. A move to the Carolina Panthers was supposed to ignite his career, but he then saw all-world running back Christian McCaffrey traded away to the San Francisco 49ers, completely ruining the Panthers’ offense. He was then cut by the Panthers towards the tail end of the 2022 season, landing as a Los Angeles Ram after they claimed him from waivers as a replacement for the injured Matt Stafford.
Allen is a star. At the end of the 2022 season, he will have passed for somewhere between 18,000 and 19,.000 yards with the Bills and will have accounted for around 180 touchdowns. Mayfield has the yards, but his touchdowns – something around 110/115 at the end of the season IF he starts in LA – pale in comparison to what Allen has done.
When you add in No. 3 pick Sam Darnold – who flamed out as a New York Jet and hasn’t been much better in Carolina – and the Bills struck gold with their pick of Allen. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. If you have a good one, then you are a threat to make the playoffs every year with even a reasonable supporting cast. The Bills have a great one, and fans with Buffalo Bills tickets will get to enjoy the skills of Allen for years to come.