CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The body count is up to 28.
There’s been a jersey and even a homemade graveyard with headstones for each of them to commemorate the ridiculous and unfathomable failure for the Browns at quarterback, which has spurred talk and jokes about college QBs possibly staying in school to avoid the kiss of death in the NFL Draft that the Browns have become.
But Wyoming’s Josh Allen isn’t the least bit scared.
“If I’m fortunate enough to become a Cleveland Brown, you can expect everything from me,” Allen told Bull and Fox Monday afternoon on 92.3 The Fan. “I want to be the guy that turns around the Cleveland Browns. The guy that does that is going to be immortalized in Cleveland forever.”
The Browns are in the midst of an historically bad stretch of football having gone 0-16 in 2017, 1-31 since 2016 and 4-44 since 2015 which Allen is well aware of. But he’s also aware of the opportunity that presents itself.
“To think about that and to put yourself in that situation and in those shoes, you gotta love that as a quarterback and you gotta love that as a football player and competitor,” Allen said. “This is something that can really be set in stone forever, if you’re the guy that can help turn this Cleveland Browns team around. I know they’ve got the youngest team in the NFL, they’ve got the most cap space, the most high draft picks, brand new GM who has done a lot of good things in his past.
“I’m not saying if I want to be drafted by a certain team or not but I definitely think this is a situation in Cleveland where this is the time where a quarterback can step in and do his job without worrying or having to worry about the notion that this is the place where quarterbacks go to die because I definitely think there are some good things going on with the Browns organization.”
Not since Boardman, Ohio native Bernie Kosar have the Browns had a consistent and reliable starter at the position. Since 1999, Tim Couch is the only one to actually start all 16 regular season games – he did it once in 2002 before suffering an injury in Week 17 that sidelined him for the franchise’s lone playoff game since returning.
While UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold have had to walk back reports that they want nothing to do with the Browns, Allen sounded as if he’d be thrilled to be picked by the Browns, who own the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Like Rosen and Darnold, Allen is also not a sure thing.
“It’s been a long road, I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Allen, who didn’t receive any scholarship offers out of high school, said.
His production dropped off as a junior this past season that saw him throw for just 1,812 yards with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions after racking up 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions through the air as a sophomore. He averaged 228.8 yards per game and 8.6 yards per pass attempt as a sophomore but those numbers dropped to just 164.7 yards per game and 6.7 yards per attempt this past season. He was also held under 100 yards passing in three games in 2017.
His 56 percent completion percentage is another negative but Allen channeled his inner Bill Belichick when asked about those that look at the cumulative box score.
“Stats are for losers and the one thing I’d like to point out, while at Wyoming, we won games and I definitely think that’s how quarterbacks are judged in the NFL,” Allen said.
Allen had an opportunity to come out last year but chose to return to Wyoming. Despite the difficult season that saw him miss the final 2 games with a shoulder injury he has no regrets.
“Going back to school for another year, learning what I did, experiencing what I experienced – the ups, the downs, the good, the bad ad everything in between – really has led me to this position right now,” Allen, who was projected to be a top-5 pick in mock drafts a year ago before deciding not to come out, said. “To be touted as high as the first pick, it’s super cool but at the same time I take that with a grain of salt and know that these are mock drafts for a reason.
“There’s still a lot of work to do. I’m not the perfect prospect let me tell you. I got a lot to work on and I’ll be the first to admit that. I’m not going to sit here and say I know everything about everything. I definitely have work to do. The thing is, I’m willing to admit that. I’m willing to go to work and fix everything I need to fix.”
Because Allen knows there are questions about him, he will play in the Senior Bowl this week where he hopes to answer a few of them.
“It’s going to be really fun,” Allen said. “I’m super excited to go out there and compete and throw to some of the top guys in the nation and at the same time prove myself and who I am.”
Unlike Darnold or Rosen, Allen has played regularly in the cold, something he feels could give him an advantage when he gets into the league.
“You look at all the NFL games in the post season, they’re played in the cold,” Allen said. “I don’t know why, it just kinda how it is. If you’re not able to throw in the cold, you’re outta luck.”
Regardless of who the Browns spend the top pick in the draft on, it is widely assumed it will be on a quarterback and that quarterback won’t be expected to start Week 1 because the team is expected to bring in a veteran, which is just fine with Allen.
“The competitor in me wants to go in and start right away, but realistically I would welcome that [sitting a year],” Allen said. “It definitely gives you time to adjust to the speed of the game, to learn the offense, to know the ins and outs of the NFL because that first year is crazy. If you can take a year, sit and learn and process information, the next year you get to focus in on football.”