Josh Allen knows what it's like to face doubters entering the NFL from an off-the-beaten-path college team. The Wyoming product heard questions about his lack of competition and the transition to the pros back during his run-up to the 2018 draft.
So, when the Buffalo Bills' star QB, who vaulted into the upper echelon of signal-callers in 2020, hears similar things being said about North Dakota State's Trey Lance this year, Allen has a message:
"Trey, what's up, man? Josh Allen with the Bills here. Let me tell you something," Allen said in the Take The Stage series. "You're always going to have doubters. 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."
Playing in the Football Championship Subdivision, there are questions about Lance making the leap, having not faced top-tier competition. There is also the fact that he played just one game in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many prognosticators believe Lance could use a year or two of seasoning before taking over a starting gig. It's possible Allen's Year 3 leap could underscore that belief that it takes time for a talented but raw QB to find his way in the NFL.
Lance's landing spot will tell the story of his career. Will he get drafted by a club, like, say, Atlanta, at No. 4, who could have him sit behind Matt Ryan for a year or two? Or will he get thrown into the fire right away?
The often-overlooked truth about the success of most QBs is the situation they're thrust into plays a crucial role in guiding their career. Sam Darnold was put in a crappy position in New York and couldn't overcome it. Allen, meanwhile, has had his career shaped by great coaching and management in Buffalo and is reaping the benefits.
Lance has the skills to be a difference-making talent. The club that selects him early will be charged with getting the most out of the young QB.
The NDSU product will conduct his second pro day next week to give clubs one more chance to get an up-close look at what he has to offer before the draft kicks off on April 29.