MOBILE, Ala. — With Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback delayed in his arrival at the Senior Bowl to tend to a personal matter, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen took center stage Monday night at the event's opening news conference.
Allen is the rocket-armed, multi-talented prospect who looks the part (listed at 6-foot-5, 233 pounds) on the roster but not always on the stat sheet or on the football field. Although his arm talent and athleticism are considered tremendous, Allen's production — namely a thorny 56.1 career completion percentage for the Cowboys — hasn't always matched up.
"I'm way more accurate than that [statistic] shows," Allen confidently said prior to Tuesday's weigh-in and North Team practices later in the day.
It's expected that Mayfield will arrive prior to the North practices, after he was tending to what Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage called a "family matter" in Austin, Texas. Allen and Mayfield will be teammates this week, coached by a Denver Broncos team that owns the No. 5 overall pick in the draft and — oh, by the way — could use a quarterback.
Maybe the Broncos go the veteran route, having misfired on some of their recent draft picks at the position. But maybe this week is enough to make the Broncos fall in love with either Allen or Mayfield. Allen said he's looking forward to slinging passes all week next to the more accomplished but less physically blessed Mayfield.
"It's going to be fun competing with Baker," Allen said.
Of course, there are teams picking before the Broncos that need a QB — starting with the Cleveland Browns. Earlier in the day, appearing on Cleveland radio, Allen gave a strong endorsement for wanting to go to the Browns, owners of the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 NFL draft.
"If I’m fortunate enough to become a Cleveland Brown, you can expect everything from me," Allen said Monday on Cleveland's 92.3 The Fan. "I want to be the guy that turns around the Cleveland Browns. The guy that does that is going to be immortalized in Cleveland forever."
So keep that comment in mind when you read what Allen said about his mindset if the Browns were to pass on him.
"It's not about going as high as possible," Allen said. "It's about the right fit."
Some — without having heard the Cleveland radio interview — interpreted that last quote as a "please don't draft me, Browns" missive. That certainly doesn't appear to be the case with proper perspective.
Starting Tuesday, Allen gets to go to work. Some see him as a raw piece of clay worth spending the time molding. Others view him as an overhyped physical marvel who never will develop, a la Jake Locker or Kyle Boller. But Allen said he wants to come out of the week showing he's exactly what NFL teams seek in a franchise quarterback.
"I want them to understand I have a high football IQ and that I love the game," he said.