His right arm lived up the hype Saturday during the quarterbacks throwing session, lofting a rocket 70 yards that had the scouts drooling on one throw. But it was more than that. It was the way he carried himself through the three days in Indianapolis.
“He’s the alpha quarterback of the group,” one NFL scout said.
Allen came across in his interviews with the teams as a player who loves the game, understands the passing concepts and is willing to put in the work. When put on the board here, he did a nice job, according to scouts.
Allen is raw. He was inaccurate at times at Wyoming, but his poor completion percentage of 56.2 isn’t just a result of his inaccuracy. He played with receivers who had trouble catching his rifle shots at times, and his line was awful.
“He played with guys who are going to be bartenders or stock brokers,” one league scout said.
Even so, there were still doubts about his throwing ability when he came to Indy. Those were put to rest with his strong showing Saturday, which included improved footwork and better anticipation throwing against air.
What really impressed me about Allen was the way he handled himself when he met the media. I’ve been coming to the combine for 25 years listening to quarterbacks, and I came away as impressed with him as any.
Most kids these days aren’t giant fans of the game. They don’t know who plays on what teams anymore. Even some NFL players have problems naming their opposition.
But Allen knew what he was talking about. He reminded me of Peyton Manning from that standpoint, Manning knew every player in the league when he was starring in it. He loved it. He lived it. He enjoyed breaking players down.
When you met with Manning, it was a football clinic and he wanted to hear the gossip. That’s because he was also a fan of the game.
Allen came across that way to me Friday at his meet-and-greet with the media. He said he was the best quarterback in this class, which I liked, and said it would be an honor to be selected by the Browns with the first pick.
He went on to say why. What he said sounded like a guy who loved the details of the league.
“It’s every kid’s dream to be drafted No. 1,” he said. “I think Cleveland’s got things going in the right direction. They’ve got all the pieces, a lot of draft picks early on, a lot of cap space to go get guys in free agency. So I definitely think that it’s a good spot to be in if you’re fortunate enough to be taken by them at No. 1 or No. 4 (Cleveland’s other first-round pick). I definitely would embrace that opportunity to be the No. 1 overall pick, obviously that every quarterback would love to be that. It’s no different for me.”
It seemed more than just prep by his handlers. He seemed like a guy who loved it.
As for his completion percentage that is used to pick him apart, just remember this: Brett Favre had a completion percentage of 52.4 when he came out of Southern Mississippi in 1990. Allen, like Favre, will show that the number is being way overblown.
Allen should be the top pick. The upside is great.
And the combine was another step in the process of showing why he is the top quarterback prospect in this draft.
More combine musings
- The Rams are hoping to work out a deal with receiver Sammy Watkins, and if they do they will almost certainly put the franchise tag on Lamarcus Joyner. It was Joyner who had a breakout season for the Rams in 2017 when Wade Phillips moved him from nickel corner to safety. He is one of those safeties who can cover a lot of ground, which is a must in this current NFL.
- A player getting a lot of buzz from scouts is Maryland receiver D.J. Moore. He had a great workout Saturday, running a 4.42 40 to vault himself into the conversation to be a first-round pick and maybe the first receiver taken. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley is considered the top receiver, but keep an eye on Moore. “The one thing you notice about him is he got better every year,” one AFC coach said.
- The Dolphins put the franchise tag on receiver Jarvis Landry, but there is talk that he will be traded. There was a rumor of a deal for Landry to go to the Bears for running back Jordan Howard, but that was shot down. Landry will be looking for a big deal from any team that tries to land him. The problem with that is while he catches a lot of passes he doesn’t scare down the field. He averaged 8.8 yards per catch last season. “It it’s not 10 at least, it’s hard to pay him,” one scout said. Landry is a nice player, but he isn’t one of those receivers who can change a game.
- Look for the Raiders to be active in free agency in an attempt to get some defensive players. They need help at corner and linebacker.