INDIANAPOLIS — Few people fantasize about standing on a podium and having to answer questions about all their foibles and inconsistencies. And people actually have nightmares about being in public in their underwear, much less having to sprint 40 yards in them on national television.
So, this might sound strange, but Josh Allen is living the dream.
“Taking this all in, it’s a really surreal moment, just to kind of see everything I’ve dreamt of as a kid, it’s kind of falling into place,” said the former Wyoming quarterback, who met with media Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “If you knew who I was three years ago, I don’t think you would say this is possible.”
Allen’s well-documented path to this point was a circuitous one. He did not receive any scholarship offers out of high school, and he was sparsely recruited after a season in junior college. Wyoming was one of just two Football Bowl Subdivision teams to give him a scholarship offer.
But you wouldn’t know it, based on the crowd that surrounded his podium Friday afternoon. Allen intends to fully participate in the combine’s activities, which means going through passing drills on Saturday, in addition to the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run.
“Obviously (I want to show) that I can run well, I can jump well, I can throw well,” Allen said, “and when I get to the meeting rooms that I can show how much I know football, how much I love football, the type of person I am, and hopefully coaches can get the grasp of that.”
Allen said Friday he hadn’t formally met with any teams but that he had nine scheduled for that evening.
Allen had somewhat of an idea of what to expect at the Combine because this isn’t his first time here. He attended an NCAA student-athlete symposium last year in Indianapolis during the Combine.
“They kind of invited some of the top players in football, just to kind of get a feel of what the Combine’s like, kind of see the experience of some of the other guys and at the same time, talk to players that were going through this thing,” he said. “It was a really good eye-opener for me, and I’m super pumped that I got to see last year what was going to happen and kind of seeing it through now.”
At that time, Allen had been projected by some as a top draft pick. He chose to return to Wyoming for his redshirt junior season, however, and the expectations have continued to rise, even though his 2017 season didn’t measure up to his sophomore year on paper. ESPN draft guru has projected Allen as the top pick in each of his first two mock drafts.
Allen said he believes he is the best quarterback in attendance at the Indiana Convention Center, and he wasn’t the only one. But does he think that means he will be drafted first overall to Cleveland?
“I think that there’s kind of a misconception with the whole thing,” he said. “Sometimes the best quarterbacks aren’t the guys that are taken number one. I think depending on the situation, what that team needs, that’s the quarterback that they want.
“You can look at the past few drafts. It doesn’t always turn out that the number one quarterback is going to be this great player who leads your team to multiple Super Bowls and ends up in the Hall of Fame. That’s just not how it is. Getting drafted is only the start of your NFL career, and that has no impact on how you finish it. It’s going to be determined on how hard you work after you get drafted, and I intend to work extremely hard.”
Allen has said he would be up for the task of revitalizing the Browns, who have won a combined one game over the past two seasons. He also said he’d be comfortable with sitting behind a veteran if that’s what it comes to.
“I’m definitely OK with any scenario that’s getting thrown my way,” he said. “... It’s football. I love football. Everything I can do to play this game, I’m going to do.”