When Josh Allen came from Wyoming, he was mistreated by the draft cult on Twitter, which viewed him as a wildly inaccurate quarterback who couldn’t make a good NFL starter. That hatred carried over to his early days with the Buffalo Bills, with many hoping to validate their preliminary analysis.
They were wrong. Allen is now a star quarterback.
I bring up the Allen story because it is relevant today as the same scenario plays out for Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. He’s taken a beating in the pre-design process in terms of the concept cult. But the reality is that NFL people like Levis a lot more than they let on.
I also do that.
Levis is my best quarterback in this class. Alabama’s Bryce Young is the best right now, but I just couldn’t field a first overall that small. So for this what-she-should-spot, I’ll let the Carolina Panthers take Levis first overall.
Go ahead, kill me like you injured Levis and used to blister Allen, whom I loved.
Watching the star-studded Georgia defense on tape in 2021, I saw Levis play an impressive game against them while getting beaten up. He kept on his feet, hit after hit and made some impressive throws.
He also had Kentucky in the top 10 that year. Think about that. Kentucky?
Fast forward to last season. Levis didn’t play as well as expected. There were reasons. He had a terrible new offense with a dispatcher who was fired after a year. He had a bad line, no receivers, and he played hurt all season, getting pain injections for a variety of injuries that probably should have kept him on the sidelines.
So the expected jump in his game didn’t happen. But a closer look at the reasons why shows how understandable it was that it happened. Levis didn’t stand a chance.
That’s not to say he doesn’t have flaws. He does. It sometimes hangs too long on its receivers and needs to speed up processing. But I still think a lot of that has to do with last season’s attack plan and the many shots he made while playing injured.
When Allen was from Wyoming, his completion rate was at the heart of the hatred. He had a career completion percentage of 56.2, which is poor. But the tape showed a lot of passes falling because of his powerful arm and some bad throws because of mechanics that needed fixing, which he did in the NFL.
Levis had problems because of other issues, but his mechanics weren’t always great either. They will be resolved. It will be repaired.
That’s why I think he should be the best choice. He won’t be. Will be young, and that’s fine if you’re OK with a short quarterback. I am not. That’s why Levis would be the top choice in my what-she-should-be commercial.
I was right with Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, but wrong with Christian Ponder, Christian Hackenberg and a few others. So do what you want with this. But I would take Will Levis first overall.
For more draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our NFL Draft podcast, “With the First Pick,” featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Watch the latest episode below.)