Josh Allen was the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and the third quarterback taken after Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Josh Rosen (10th overall) and Lamar Jackson (32nd overall) were also first-rounders, and of those players, Allen appeared to have the easiest path to a starting job this season though he was also considered the rawest.
At issue: Even though the Bills traded up from No. 12 to No. 7 to draft him, Allen's college numbers at Wyoming were pedestrian; he completed just 56.3 percent of his passes last season, ranked 72nd in the country in passing efficiency, and struggled against better teams. And it's why there has been healthy skepticism whether Allen will ever approach anything resembling a franchise player.
But it looks like we won't have to speculate about Allen, NFL Franchise Quarterback, because AJ McCarron, signed this offseason to compete for the job, reportedly suffered a broken collarbone in the team's Week 2 preseason game against the Bills. There's also 2017 fifth-rounder Nathan Peterman, who briefly replaced then-starter Tyrod Taylor in the lineup last November and promptly threw five interceptions in 30 minutes of football.
Which brings us to second-year coach Sean McDermott, who told reporters Monday morning, "(Josh) will be working with the ones and Nate will be working with the twos today. We're staying with the rotation. Nate had the reps with the ones yesterday. Josh will have them today. After today we'll start to move into a blend into a normal week as we prepare for the next game. Part of that is so our players can get acclimated to the routine of a normal regular-season week."
Later on Monday, the team announced that Allen will start their next preseason game.
Through two preseason games Allen has completed 18 of 32 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. It's hard to not be mesmerized by his arm strength and athleticism:
And there's this nugget from Pro Football Focus: "Allen leads the league in rushing grade among quarterbacks this preseason at 79.4, averaging 4.0 yards after contact per carry ... [and has] a 113.8 passer rating on plays that last 2.5 seconds or more, the 10th-best mark among signal-callers this preseason."
These are all good signs for the Bills, a team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 1999. But there's still a long way to go. First, Buffalo's schedule over the first two months of the season is brutal -- the first eight games are against the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings, Packers, Titans, Texans, Colts and Patriots.
With 3 weeks before the start of the season, both Josh Allen & Sam Darnold are taking reps with the 1s. If both start the season, each will face very different opponents:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 20, 2018
• NYJ: 2nd easiest sked 1st 8 wks
• BUF: 2nd hardest sked 1st 8 wks pic.twitter.com/wr1ugeZdPd
"It's a big jump," Couch said at the start of training camp, talking about Browns' first-overall pick Baker Mayfield. "I don't care how high a level you played at in college. I played in the SEC, a very fast conference, a very physical conference, but it was still a huge jump for me getting used to the speed of the game and the size of the players and just learning how complex defenses can get. "... [B]ut it's very basic right now. Even in preseason, they'll be basic looks they give you. As the season goes on, you get more complex looks, and it gets harder and harder on a rookie quarterback. So you have to bring those guys around slowly, especially when you're on a football team that hasn't had a lot of success."