Offensive and racially charged tweets from Josh Allen’s high school days suddenly could jeopardize the Wyoming quarterback’s standing in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft.
Allen apologized to ESPN after the tweets surfaced late Wednesday, saying he was young and dumb from 2012 through 2013 when he wrote them. But it remains to be seen how NFL teams react and if this last-minute twist causes Allen to slide.
Allen’s most alarming tweet from June 25, 2013, since deleted, appeared to be a response to a question asked of him on AskFM: “Why are you so white ? — If it ain’t white, it ain’t right!” he wrote, per Yahoo Sports. There were also a few tweets in which Allen used the racial slur “n---as.”
See Josh Allen from his college days:
While USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the favorite to land with Cleveland at the No. 1 overall pick, the Browns are rumored to also have strongly considered Allen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
The Giants at No. 2 conceivably could draft Allen if Darnold is off the board and they still want a QB. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur prefers tall quarterbacks, and Allen and Shurmur developed some chemistry working and meeting together at both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
And the Buffalo Bills are believed to be eager to trade up somewhere into the top six in order to get Allen, as well.
The Giants front office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware and how it could affect any decision to draft Allen. A team with a top-five draft pick told ESPN, though, that they knew nothing about the tweets and “never (had) heard anything but positives” about Allen.
Shurmur said at the NFL owners’ meetings in late March that he liked a lot of Allen’s traits.
“Josh Allen, he’s an outstanding player,” Shurmur said on March 27 in Orlando. “I’ve had more exposures to him probably than some of the other quarterbacks in the draft, but it was good to get out there and watch him throw … Josh is obviously a very outstanding player in all regards … My indications are that he’s a tough player, he’s competitive. Those are things and those are traits that I admire in a quarterback. You saw that in his play. He’s willing to pull it down and run with it. He’s a really, really big guy, which I think helps you. And I just like his mindset.”
The surfacing of Allen’s tweets, however, evoked memories of Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil’s bizarre fall down the board in 2016. Only an hour or so before the start of that draft, a video surfaced of Tunsil wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong. And he plummeted behind two offensive tackles — Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley to the Ravens at six and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin to the Titans at eight — before the Miami Dolphins took Tunsil at No. 13.
The Giants at No. 10 not only saw the Titans and Bears trade over them to take two players they liked in Conklin and Georgia LB Leonard Floyd. But then, instead of taking Tunsil at a position of great need, they passed and took Ohio State corner Eli Apple instead.
This time teams have almost 24 hours to check in to Allen’s tweets, but that doesn’t mean this won’t scare them off.