Josh Allen Already Had Doubters; Ramsey's Rip Has Made Them Ravenous

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterAugust 17, 2018

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) talks to his team during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

When Jalen Ramsey absolutely trashed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen in an interview with GQ published this week, it put both men in a spotlight that is sure to be difficult to emerge from unscathed.

First, in bashing Allen—and a number of other quarterbacks—the Jaguars cornerback put a target on his back. Every QB in the league will want a piece of Ramsey, particularly those whom Ramsey attacked. Whether they can actually beat Ramsey is a different story, but he's going to be tested.

Second, Allen now finds himself under the microscope even more than he was as the supposed franchise player expected to lead the Bills into the future. And that starts Friday, when he'll likely match up against the No. 1 pick, Baker Mayfield, in Cleveland. Mayfield may carry the fate of a winless team with him, but right now, in a strange way, there is far more pressure on Allen than Mayfield.

Once considered in play at No. 1, Allen's selection was always going to be a controversial choice, even if it didn't come until No. 7 overall. Every quarterback is a risk, but Allen was able to avoid being caught in the thick of the discussion because he's playing in Buffalo and the Bills haven't been significant factors in the NFL in almost two decades.

Now, if Allen struggles as a professional, Ramsey's criticism will serve as a reminder of how he was a questionable pick. If Allen prospers, Ramsey's rip job will be seen as a motivating factor.

Players, though, have told me Ramsey isn't alone in his beliefs about Allen. Some front offices believe the same thing. They think Allen was picked too high. Many of those same people feared Allen lacked accuracy and was a massive project. Heading into the draft, the consensus of team executives with whom I spoke was that Allen should be a second- or third-round pick, at best.

Ramsey apparently agrees.

John Raoux/Associated Press

"I think Allen is trash," Ramsey told GQ. "I don't care what nobody say. He's trash. And it's gonna show too. That's a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I'm excited as hell. I hope he's their starting quarterback. He played at Wyoming. Every time they played a big school—like, they played Iowa State, which is not a big school in my opinion because I went to Florida State, and he threw five interceptions, and they lost by a couple touchdowns or something like that. He never beat a big school. If you look at his games against big schools, it was always hella interceptions, hella turnovers. It's like: Yo, if you're this good, why couldn't you do better? He fits that mold, he's a big, tall quarterback. Big arm, supposedly. I don't see it, personally."

Allen threw five picks against Nebraska two years ago and also never played Iowa State, but point made.

"He's not on my team," Allen responded, according to WGR 550's Sal Capaccio. "He's not my teammate. It doesn't bother me."

Oh, it bothers him, all right.

Of all the first-round quarterbacks from the 2018 draft, Allen potentially is in the most demanding situation. Mayfield will likely back up Tyrod Taylor. Sam Darnold (third overall pick) could start in New York, but no one expects anything from the Jets. They haven't made the playoffs since the 2010 season and have won 10 games only once since then.

Josh Rosen (10th) also doesn't have a great deal of pressure compared to The Other Josh. He is taking over a Cardinals team that went 8-8 and cycled through three different starting quarterbacks last season. He also has more help with a healthy David Johnson returning to presumably carry the offense. And then there's Lamar Jackson (drafted 32nd), behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore and dealing with less pressure than Allen. 

The Bills don't have that luxury. They have Allen, AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman. And McCarron and Peterman aren't exactly Marino and Unitas. Last year, Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half against the Chargers.

Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

That shouldn't be too difficult a group from which to emerge.

If Allen can't, however, that in itself might be an indictment.

And we know there will be one person waiting to say told you so

       

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.

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