A look back at every player selected before Bills QB Josh Allen

A look back at every player selected before Bills QB Josh Allen

For nearly two decades, the Buffalo Bills failed to land a franchise quarterback. While they had flashes of brilliance with the many quarterbacks they had, like Kyle Orton and Tyrod Taylor, the Buffalo fan base suffered for what seemed like forever. They always seemed to have a solid running game and a great defense, but could never really get the most out of the quarterback position. That was until 2018, when the Bills were about to draft their future franchise quarterback. In a QB-heavy draft, the Bills were a team to watch as they looked to get their guy and they did just that by trading for Josh Allen.

Bills fans are very fortunate to have a quarterback like Allen who is more of an athlete than anything else. He can throw the ball 70+ yards, make plays with his legs and carry defenders. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott were very fortunate to land Buffalo’s next franchise quarterback and with continuity within the team, Allen has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Looking back at the 2018 draft, many teams would have taken Allen if they knew he would become the player he is today. With Allen being Buffalo’s future, we take a look back at the six players who were drafted before Allen.

The former Heisman Trophy winner had a fantastic 2017 at Oklahoma, and former general manager John Dorsey chose to take Mayfield with the first overall pick. Mayfield had a lot more downs than ups in Cleveland, but he led the Browns to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years and even helped them win a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mayfield has had to deal with coaching changes year after year, leading to inconsistent play. That’s part of the reason the Browns decided to trade for DeShaun Watson, which effectively ended Mayfield’s future in Cleveland. Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers, released that same year, and joined the Los Angeles Rams to finish the 2022 season. Since then, Mayfield has found stability with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he just signed a three-year extension.

The Giants decided to take Barkley number two overall, arguably the best overall player in the draft. He was dynamic at Penn State and was expected to be a game-changer for any franchise that drafted him. He had a fantastic start to his career where he made the Pro Bowl with over 2,000 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns. Barkley then dealt with a few injuries throughout his career, including a torn ACL in 2020. Throughout his career with the Giants, Barkley was the main focal point of the offense as no team feared Daniel Jones.

Two seasons ago, he was as good as ever with over 1,000 yards rushing, but last season he was behind a terrible offensive line. With the Giants not agreeing to a deal with Barkley and offering Jones a big contract, Barkley and the Giants couldn’t agree to a new contract, leading to the Philadelphia Eagles picking up Barkley and signing him last year.

Being drafted by the Jets as a young quarterback has been a nightmare for many players. Sam Darnold is no exception to that list. Before the draft, many people thought the Browns would select Darnold first. Coming out of USC, Darnold had all the makings of a good starting quarterback. Much like Mayfield, Darnold didn’t have the best coaching around him, going from Todd Bowles to Adam Gase, which was a nightmare for Darnold. Not to mention, he had no talent around him, which caused him to regress significantly.

Once the new regime of Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh came into play in 2021, the Jets had the second overall pick in another QB-heavy draft. The Jets decided to get rid of Darnold, trading him to the Carolina Panthers and eventually drafting Zach Wilson (who was just traded to Denver this offseason). Darnold has since become a backup in San Francisco and signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Browns had two top-five picks and decided to take cornerback Denzel Ward from Ohio State to Ohio. Ward has been a solid player for the Browns, earning three Pro Bowl appearances and recording 15 interceptions in his career. He plays a huge role in this Browns defense that has become an elite unit under Jim Schwartz. The only negative on Ward’s play is his health, as he has yet to play a full season. Other than that, the Browns got themselves a great cornerback for the future.

The Broncos added Bradley Chubb to pair with Hall of Famer Von Miller. He finished third in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting and is also a three-time Pro Bowler himself. Chubb has had some bad luck with injuries himself, playing four games in 2019 and seven in 2021. In 2022, the Broncos decided to send Chubb to the Miami Dolphins, where he earned a massive five-year extension with the Dolphins. The nightmare then continued for Chubb, who tore his ACL late in the 2023 season, which could affect him once again next season.

If there was one player in this draft that was a must-have prospect, it was Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson. The Colts desperately needed protection for Andrew Luck who had been sacked more times than we can count. Taking an interior offensive lineman in the top 10 is a bit of a risk, but Nelson was worth it for the Colts. Indianapolis has established one of the best offensive lines in the league and that is partly due to Nelson. A six-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro, the Colts definitely hit the jackpot with Nelson.

Looking at this list, Josh Allen is better than all the others. He has the most impact and has helped the Bills become a more respectable franchise. He is in the prime of his career, but he has arguably been surrounded by the least amount of talent since his rookie season. Ultimately, the Bills will always be in the Super Bowl conversation as long as Allen plays at a high level.