Wyoming QB Josh Allen spoke with the media Monday at the Senior Bowl:
When you lead off as the first overall pick in ESPN's inaugural mock draft of 2018, people want to hear what you have to say.
Welcome to the bright lights, Josh Allen.
The 2018 Senior Bowl Week kicked off Monday night in Mobile, Alabama, and the Wyoming quarterback headlined the introductory press conference at the Riverview Plaza Hotel. It was just the tip of the iceberg in what will be an exciting, nerve-wracking, challenging, tiring, and life-changing few months leading up the draft in late April.
"It's not about going as high as possible," Allen said. "It's going as high as possible to the right team. So if I'm not the right for the Browns [with the first pick], that's fine with me. I understand that some people fit schemes differently. If I'm a better fit somewhere else, then I belong at that other place."
The Giants, who announced former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their 18th head coach in franchise history around the same time Allen addressed the media, hold the second pick. The last time they drafted in the top five was 2004, when they acquired top choice Eli Manning in exchange for Philip Rivers, the fourth overall selection.
Should the Giants take a similar path and take a quarterback with a new head coach known for developing players at the position, Allen will be an option. Events like the Senior Bowl dictate how serious of an option he will be, though.
If Allen, who picked up MVP honors at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in his final collegiate game, finds himself in the same locker room as Manning, it won't be the first time he met the two-time Super Bowl MVP – or his family. Allen participated in the Manning Passing Academy this past summer in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
"Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper are one of the greatest families -- not just football families -- but just great just families that you could ever meet," Allen said. "They're extremely special people. They're super down to earth and they care a lot about football. Obviously getting able to talk to Peyton and Eli and taking what they had to say about what they did leading up [to games] and stuff like that, how they watch film, what they watched on certain days, their routine from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night, it was just really cool to try to emulate that because Eli and Peyton have had really successful careers. And as any quarterback wants a successful career, there's a certain path to follow and they've set the path."
"I met Josh down at the Manning Academy last summer," said Phil Savage, executive director of the Senior Bowl. "He was very impressive down in Thibodaux throwing the ball around and he looks like an NFL quarterback. So we were really pleased to get him in our lineup. I think the leadership, the intangibles, the character, all those things should check out. But the teams haven't had a chance really to talk to any of these players [before this week]. So now they get that chance to have that face-to-face to decide if this is someone we want to represent our franchise."
Senior Bowl weigh-ins take place Tuesday morning, followed by media day and the first practices for the North and South teams. That's where Allen, who is on the North roster, wants to show his accuracy.
"That's what I'm cleaning up in this offseason – to show everybody, come practice time, that I've been working on that," he said. "The key to my accuracy is making sure that my feet are set right and I'm just trying to have a more polished throwing motion, more polished stroke. When my feet are right, my hips are allowed to open a little better, which is where your accuracy kind of comes from. So getting out there in front of all the scouts and GM's in practice is going to show that."
And then he can let it fly.
"Looking back at guys like [Brett] Favre and [Aaron] Rodgers, they're not afraid to put it in any spot on the field," Allen said. "I've got kind of the same [gunslinger] mindset. I've got a good enough arm to do it, but I understand in the NFL guys get faster, they get smarter. It's hard to complete balls in the NFL. So being more accurate and making better decisions with the football is what I want to do."
When the prospects aren't on the field, they're in meeting rooms and can interview with NFL clubs.
"I want them to know what type of person I am, the type of person off the field and on the field," Allen said. "I want them to know that I can understand football terminology. Obviously coming from Wyoming and not playing against the greatest competition week in and week out, I don't think that has anything to do with football IQ. And I want them to understand that I have a high football IQ and I love this game. If there is one thing about me, I do love the game of football and this is the only thing I've ever wanted for my entire life – to be an NFL quarterback."
The Senior Bowl will help him get there.
"We try to help the players grasp the understanding that this is not the end of their college career – that's already over with," Savage said. "This is the beginning of their pro career."
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