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Bills Notebook

Josh Allen shrugs off Giants' less-than-glowing pre-draft take on him

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur admitted Wednesday that his team was not over-the-moon about Josh Allen in evaluating the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback before the 2018 NFL Draft.

Was Shurmur’s honesty disrespectful? You can bet if Allen has a big game Sunday, there will be talk about afterward it in the Buffalo locker room.

“I can comment on what we thought of him,” Shurmur told New York reporters. “We thought he was a big, strong thrower, a guy that had a chance to be a starter in the NFL, and he has been for them. I think he’s made steady improvements. He’s a very strong-armed guy. He’s helped them win some big games already. Just like any young player, you see where he’ll make mistakes and then correct them.”

On a follow-up question, Shurmur was asked: You said you thought he had a chance to be a starter. That’s a fairly low expectation. Or did you mean immediately?

The coach did not try to fudge his way out of the assessment.

Said Shurmur: “I thought he had a chance to be a starter. But I was asked what I thought of him, and that’s what we thought of him. He had a chance to be a starter.”

The reality is numerous NFL teams had reservations about Allen’s 56.3 completion percentage during his college career at the University of Wyoming. In fact, the Giants also had some reservations about New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, as evidenced by the fact they also passed on him with the No. 2 overall pick, instead drafting running back Saquon Barkley.

Allen took the high road when asked about Shurmur’s assessment on a conference call with New York reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Allen said. “I wasn’t trying to make everybody like me or fall in love with me. Luckily the Bills had different thoughts and different plans with me. And luckily I ended up here.”

•••

Bills tight end Tyler Kroft practiced in pads for the first time on Wednesday and took part in some of the 11-on-11 team drills in practice. He was listed as a limited participant in practice. Kroft, recovering from a broken foot, was doubtful on last week’s injury report. He’s getting closer to returning.

Slot cornerback Taron Johnson (hamstring) did not practice, and Siran Neal would take his place if needed this week. Johnson and Neal each played 33 defensive snaps against the Jets. Return man Andre Roberts (quad) also sat out, and Jordan Phillips had an illness. Getting veteran rest days were John Brown, Lorenzo Alexander and Ty Nsekhe.

The Giants could be without their top two wide receivers Sunday. No. 1 wideout Golden Tate definitely is out, due to a four-game NFL suspension. Starting receiver Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol. The Giants on Wednesday signed receiver T.J. Jones, who they had cut two weeks ago. New York put linebacker Kareem Martin, a backup who played 10 snaps Sunday, on injured reserve. The Giants’ best guard, Kevin Zeitler, was limited, but he is expected to play. Two other Giants starters were on the injury report. Linebacker Markus Golden (hip) and rookie defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (shoulder) were limited.

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