2021 NFL Draft: Josh Allen sends message to Trey Lance about ‘doubters’ and how to ignore them

Few players have been as severely criticized heading into the NFL Draft as Josh Allen was. The Buffalo Bills quarterback heard all the red flags as he was becoming a top-10 prospect in the 2018 draft, starting with his low completion rate in college and poor decision making. 

Allen shed any hint of a “bust” label by his third season with the Bills, taking them to the AFC Championship Game for the first time in 27 years. 

This year’s biggest wild card among quarterback prospects is Trey Lance, who could be taken as high as No. 3. Lance has his doubters, playing in in the FCS at North Dakota State with just one full season — and just one football game over the last two years — causing many analysts to question whether he’ll be successful in the NFL. 

Allen sent Lance a strong message with the draft just over two weeks away, a message that should help the 20-year-old quarterback as he prepares for the biggest day of his football life. 

“Let me tell you something. You’re always going to have doubters,” Allen said in the NFL’s Take The Stage video series. “I’ve heard it all before. You’re not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL. You’re untested. Your competition is too weak. Ignore them. Get on the field and let your game do the talking. It’s time to make some noise, Trey.”

Allen is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL after an MVP-caliber 2020 season, proving his doubters wrong. Allen set the Bills’ franchise record for passing yards in a season (4,544) and passing touchdowns (37), finishing with a 107.2 passer rating. He finished fourth in the league in completion percentage (69.2), fifth in passing yards, fifth in passing touchdowns, and fourth in passer rating — while also rushing for 421 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Allen is the only player in NFL history with 400-plus passing yards, 30-plus passing touchdowns and eight-plus rushing touchdowns in a season and the only quarterback in NFL history with three consecutive seasons of seven-plus rushing touchdowns. He is also the first player in NFL history with two games in a season with 400-plus passing yards, three-plus passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 130-plus passer rating. 

Lance has the potential to follow in Allen’s footsteps. Lance completed 66.9% of his passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions in his redshirt freshman season for North Dakota State, leading the Bison to a national championship. He also recorded 1,100 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns — averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

The doubts are there regarding Lance and whether he’s ready for the NFL, but time is on his side. Just ask Allen how things turned out. 

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