Following the 2015 season, Ben Roethlisberger's injuries have raised the question of backup quarterback. Bruce Gradkowski was injured, Michael Vick proved unreliable and Landry Jones showed his lack of skill, and was ultimately injured too. Further to that, both Vick and Gradkowski's contracts are up, and there are questions over whether or not they'll get re-signed. Pittsburgh will therefore likely pick up a QB late in the draft (once the more important concerns on the defensive side of the ball have been addressed).
Pittsburgh met Brandon Allen at Arkansas' Pro Day - there is clear interest from the Steelers. Could he add some needed depth at QB?
Brandon Allen has not been the number one target for NFL scouts for one major reason - his size. He is 6'1", which is considered too short for the professional level. That is not to say that the three year starter for the Razorbacks will go undrafted because of this, after all Russell Wilson is 5'11". Allen's height is not the only size related issue however, his hands are too small to be considered up to NFL standard. His 8 1/2" hands are a full half inch too small for the taste of scouts looking at quarterbacks going into the draft. He was so concerned over this that building up to the Senior Bowl he visited a massage therapist to increase their size. One thing that does go in his favor is his arm. It is a canon - which is proven by his on-field stats and performance.
With 3440 yards on the 2015 season, Allen clearly has the skill and the throwing ability to play in the NFL. He had a 65.9% completion rating on that season, which is impressive considering that his height issue would influence his visibility behind his own offensive line. This explains his 8 interceptions, but then at the same time he also had 30 touchdowns and 9.3 yards per attempt. Those stats can't be argued with. When looking at his QB rating, 166.5, you see that this guy can REALLY throw and he can place his throws accurately. Bearing in mind that this QB score surpasses Cam Newton's this season (99.4) and Big Ben last season (103.3). This guy has talent, and the only reason that he is not higher in the draft, in my opinion, is because of his size.
What this means is that you have a Russell Wilson quality to Brandon Allen. Sure, he's small, but he has some great statistics, and understands his problems. The fact that he went to a massage therapist for his hands proves one of two things - he either is actively trying to improve his game, or he wants to play in the NFL. Either way, this guy is showing his want to improve and play at a professional level.
For Pittsburgh, all this means that by drafting Allen they are picking up a committed player. A player that can really throw, and that will want to learn under Roethlisberger. He could prove to be a real late round bargain too, as his statistics show. Another influence would be to create some competition for the backup QB spot. I can't imagine Landry Jones would want to relinquish this too easily, being as he performed well last season, all things considered. If all this pays off, which is a possibility (although not an assured one), then he just might be a possible replacement for Big Ben in 3-4 years time.
Long Pass vs. UTEP Miners
This GIF shows that Allen knows how to use his O-line. Watch how he sees the blitz, drops back and lets his blockers give him time to get the pass off. Furthermore, this shows his ability to throw. He drops back to about his own 32-yard line, and lets the pass fly to about the opposing 40. That's about 28 yards. Considering how accurate this pass is, that is a good distance to throw.
Escaping the Pocket vs Mississippi State Bull Dogs
Here you can see Allen read the defense again. He sees where the D-line is going, and sees the hole in the pocket. He uses that space to scramble a few yards and get the ball to a receiver in single coverage. He not only sees where the line is, and where they're going, but also where the secondary is, and the open receiver. He clearly has good ability in reading the defense and can use his brain to see their vulnerabilities, which he can then use to scramble or get the ball downfield.
There are a number of QBs who will likely go higher than Allen - Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch to name a few. Being as the Steelers have bigger needs on defense, it is incredibly unlikely they will even try and get any of these players. Despite this, if Allen is available in the late rounds (which he likely will), there is good reason to think that they will draft Allen. Allen could prove to be an hidden talent playing at Heinz Field, or any where else he ends up playing.