New England Patriots

By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has ruled the AFC East for more than 16 seasons, but can newcomers Josh Allen or Sam Darnold be the ones to take the reins from the future Hall of Famer?

During the 2018 NFL Draft the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills decided to take another shot at drafting their QB of the future in Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, respectively.

After drafting dud after dud like Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Tyrod Taylor, Bryce Petty, EJ Manuel and Christian Hackenberg, both the Jets and Bills have struggled to find their franchise altering quarterback.

But both clubs may have found their guys in Darnold and Allen.

They’ve been stuck in a division dominated by the Patriots, who have won nine straight division titles, and the time has come for them to devise a plan to dethrone the Patriots.

Their plans include a quarterback, who has tremendous upside, but what can they make of it?

Darnold, who was drafted third overall by the Jets, spent two years under center at USC, after red-shirting as a true freshman in 2015.

SOUTH BEND – Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans throws a pass in the first quarter of a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 21, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In 2016 Darnold took the reins as USC’s starting quarterback.

Through 13 games, he threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 67.2 completion percentage and 161.1 quarterback rating.

During his sophomore season, in which USC won the 2017 Rose Bowl over Penn State, he saw his completions, attempts, passing yards and interceptions rise.

But with that, his completion percentage dropped to 63.1 percent. And his touchdown total took a hit and dropped to 26, while his quarterback rating dropped by 13 points.

As for Allen, who played one year of junior college at Reedley College in California before heading to Wyoming, where he spent three years as a Cowboy before being drafted seventh overall by the Bills in the NFL Draft, is a strong-armed QB, who always been the underdog.

LAS VEGAS – Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys throws against the UNLV Rebels during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

During his first year at Wyoming, Allen suffered a broke collarbone and missed the rest of the season after appearing in only two games.

In his first year as QB1, Allen threw for 3,203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, while completing 56 percent of his passing and finished the season with a 144.9 quarterback rating.

After contemplating declaring for the NFL Draft in 2017, Allen decided to return for his junior season as a Cowboy.

During that season, Allen saw a decline in almost every statistical category.

So he played three less games, threw for 1,391 less yards and 12 less touchdowns and saw his quarterback rating drop 17.1 points. Granted he attempted 103 less passes, which ended up leading to 57 less completions that season.

He did throw nine less interceptions and completed 0.3 percent more passes.

The thing though with both of these quarterbacks is that they’re not afraid to leave the pocket to move the ball up field or to buy some extra time. But it’s Allen more so than Darnold, who will use his legs to drive the ball downfield.

FORT COLLINS – Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys splits the defense of the Colorado State Rams on his way to running for a touchdown during the third quarter at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

In 137 rushing attempts, Darnold finished his college career with 332 yards and seven touchdowns.

Allen on the other hand, finished with 727 yards and 12 touchdowns on 234 attempts.

The Patriots will have their work cut out for them if both of these quarterbacks can win over the starting gigs with their respective teams because both have shown at times that they can sling the ball up and down field and hit open receivers wherever they may be.

Plus they’re not afraid to hit the ground running to make a play.

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Time will tell what these two will turn into, but according to the NFL Draft & Combine Profile, Darnold has a better “prospect grade” than Allen, who posted a 5.9 compared to Darnold’s 7.0.

Allen’s 5.9 grade puts him in the category of having a “chance to become NFL starter,” and Darnold’s 7.0 translates to a “pro bowl-caliber player.”

So in essence, the scouts and graders believe Darnold will be the better player and quarterback out of the two, but it’s really the play on the field that counts. And of course the work they put in at the position.

But either way the Patriots will have to prepare for two new quarterbacks this season, which they will get to see twice, each over the course of the 2018 season.

As a member of Patriots Nation, you can only hope that both of these quarterbacks fail epically as members of two of the most hated franchises by any Pats fan.

Here are the overviews of Darnold and Allen according to the NFL Draft & Combine Profile:

Sam Darnold: “At the end of the day, Darnold has NFL size, arm strength, accuracy, pocket mobility, poise and field reading capability. His windup is an eyesore for sure, but he has the velocity to mitigate the additional release time. While Darnold has the mental toughness and talent to start tomorrow, early sideline seasoning could help him better process coverages in an attempt to eliminate future interceptions. Darnold has the tools to thrive in any system and doesn’t have to have perfect protection to succeed. His floor is solid starter, but he has the ceiling to be one of the top tier quarterbacks in the game as he gains more experience.”

Josh Allen: “Likely be the biggest boom-or-bust quarterback prospect in the draft. Allen’s size and arm talent are prototypical for early first-round picks, but it’s rare to find a quarterback with such a low college completion rate become a successful pro. Allen’s receivers struggled to separate, but there were plenty of times where his lack of anticipation and post-snap plan did him in. Allen can make some truly special throws, but his ability to improve the mental part of his game will determine whether he’s a good NFL starter or just another big, strong-armed guy.”

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John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at jhardiman@985thesportshub.com.