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Why did the Broncos pass on Josh Allen on draft night in 2018?




In the 2018 NFL draft, five quarterbacks were picked in the first round, the second highest number of first-round quarterback selections, along with the 1999 and 2021 drafts, after the six selected in 1983. These quarterbacks were Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson. Only Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have remained with their original teams as of 2023.

Josh Allen played college football at Wyoming, where he won a bowl game MVP. In 2018, most mock drafts had the Broncos selecting Allen as the fifth overall pick if the Browns or the Jets didn’t pick him or if another team (such as the Bills) didn’t trade up. However, the Browns chose Baker Mayfield as their first pick, and Sam Darnold was selected third.

Josh Allen was compared to John Elway, and he seemed like the perfect fit for the Broncos. Allen had the most powerful arm in the draft, was 6-foot-5, and could run. The Broncos scouted Allen at Wyoming regularly. Elway even Traveled to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, where Allen played despite a shoulder injury and was named the MVP with three touchdowns. Later, the Broncos’ coaching staff under Vance Joseph coached Allen’s team in the Senior Bowl. He had an impressive practice week and threw two touchdowns in the Game. The Broncos sent Gary Kubiak to recheck Allen at his Pro Day when he quickly flung accurate 75-yard passes, and John invited Josh to a pre-draft visit to Dove Valley.

During his time at Wyoming, Josh would ride with offensive coordinator Brent Vigen to the Cherry Creek Mall and Broncos Games. Allen openly preferred to be drafted by the Broncos and mentored by Elway.

However, Elway finally rejected the idea of selecting Allen, as he had already signed free agent Case Keenum. Elway never publicly discussed the Allen decision. Nevertheless, a Broncos source revealed that John was apprehensive over Josh’s college pass percentage (56.2), four non-conference losses to significant programs, and a lack of grasp of the Broncos’ offensive concepts.

Instead of picking Josh Allen, the Broncos drafted defensive end Bradley Chubb. And two picks later, the Bills took Allen.