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UW Football Scrimmage

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen delivers a pass April 8, 2017 during a scrimmage at Natrona County’s Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

Josh Allen’s name has popped up on numerous mock drafts this year, including a few that projected him to be the very first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — most notably on Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock for the upcoming NFL Draft.

But mock drafts are projections of what an analyst believes will happen, subject to his or her reporting and the whims of the teams. Rankings are an indication of how the analysts themselves value certain players. And now the former Wyoming quarterback is faring well in that regard, too.

ESPN’s Kiper, in keeping with his pro-Allen stance, has him at the very top of his quarterback positional rankings. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock put Allen at No. 2 on his list below Southern California’s Sam Darnold. While Allen would surely like to be ranked ahead of his training mate, it’s a positive sign for the Wyoming standout. In many ways, the narrative stemming from analysts this draft season was that NFL teams might decide to pick Allen early in the draft, but that doesn’t mean those analysts agree with it. Maybe Allen’s showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl did him some good.

Of course, there are still those who fit that description. The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk said that Mayock had joined the “silliness parade” in ranking Allen ahead of quarterbacks such as UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

“And now is when I remind you that at this time last year, Mayock had DeShone Kizer as the top quarterback,” Lisk wrote. “In 2011, he had Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker ahead of Cam Newton. In 2014, he had Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel #1 and #2. Over the last seven years, the guy Mayock has had first in his pre-Combine rankings ended up being the first QB drafted just twice (Andrew Luck and Jameis Winston).

“Josh Allen fits the bill of so many past quarterbacks who make scouts drool, in terms of size and strength. In fact, it’s probably fitting that Gabbert’s name comes up. So it’s not surprising that former scouts like Mayock might be on the same wavelength as current ones. I think you can expect Josh Allen to be drafted highly.”

You may say Kiper is insane, but he’s not the only one. Prisco recently joined Kiper in projecting Allen to go first overall to the Cleveland Browns.

“I know there are a lot of draftniks who don’t like this kid,” Prisco wrote, “but the league scouts I’ve talked to love him. He is perfect for the Browns: A big, strong passer who can rip it in the elements.

“... I know all the talk about his bad completion percentage, but he played with a bunch of jayvee players last year at Wyoming. He is big, strong, tough and has a rocket for an arm.

“New Browns general manager John Dorsey will come to love his skills. As some scouts have said, ‘’He looks like a young John Elway.” That’s high praise.”

And what does Cleveland itself have to say about Allen? The Browns posted a “Five Fast Facts” video about the potential future Brown on their website. Better safe than sorry.

Speaking of mock drafts, here’s where some of those draftniks have Allen going...

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: sixth overall to the Jets.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation: 21st overall to the Bills.

John Harris, Washington Post: 21st overall to the Bills.

Charley Casserly, 15th overall to the Cardinals.

While Allen certainly helped himself at the Senior Bowl, Mayfield’s draft stock also seems to have risen since that game, even though his playing time was limited.

Some have pointed to the Browns’ hiring of draft consultant Scot McCloughan as evidence that Cleveland are leaning toward Mayfield. McCloughan said before being hired that Mayfield was his favorite among the quarterbacks in this class.

“He reminds me of a shorter version of Brett Favre,” McCloughan said. “Tough guy. He can throw it. And he’s very confident, and he’s not afraid whatsoever, whatsoever. He’s a battler. I know saying Brett Favre’s a big name, and I was around him for a while, but this guy’s got talent. Every guy you mention has talent. I’ve already said I think three guys go in the top ten, I think five go in the first round.”

Schudel wrote that even if the McCloughan hire doesn’t mean that Cleveland is going to draft Mayfield, it does mean they’re planning to use the draft for the quarterback position. In other words, he doesn’t think Kirk Cousins will be coming to town.

“Any question of whether the Browns are planning to put their future in the hands of a rookie quarterback or a veteran in his prime was answered on Super Bowl Sunday, when they hired Scot McCloughan as a draft consultant,” Schudel wrote. “... McCloughan is also the former general manager of the Washington Redskins. “Though he isn’t a Kirk Cousins basher, he also isn’t a Kirk Cousins booster.”

Bob Moen, AP

For more than a year now, Allen’s national profile has brought attention to Wyoming that the school wouldn’t normally receive. The Associated Press recently published an article on the benefits that Allen’s hype has brought Wyoming. Most of it was well-covered territory, but there was this interesting tidbit.

“We’re going to have open (quarterback) competition this spring,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said in the article.

Wyoming returns rising senior quarterback Nick Smith, who played in relief in both 2015 and 2017, as well as California quarterback prospects Tyler Vander Waal and Sean Chambers. Vander Waal redshirted as a freshman in 2017, while Chambers was a member of the Cowboys’ latest signing class. Wyoming had previously played coy when it came to the future of the Pokes’ quarterback position.

Follow University of Wyoming athletics reporter Brandon Foster on Twitter @BFoster91


College Sports Reporter

Brandon Foster reports on University of Wyoming athletics. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years. A St. Louis native, he lives in Laramie.

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