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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen looks to impress Broncos coaches

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Posted at 12:05 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 14:23:44-05

MOBILE, Ala. -- Josh Allen was not being arrogant or smug, simply honest. 

I asked him Tuesday at the Reese's Senior Bowl how far he can hurl a football.

"In practice I have thrown it 82 yards," Allen said with a smile. "In a game, probably the farthest I have thrown it is 65 yards."

Allen, a Wyoming quarterback increasingly labeled as this year's Carson Wentz, owns elite arm strength. He is Uncle Rico in "Napoleon Dymamite." Just point to the mountain to toss it over. As Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt told me after Tuesday's practice, "You can hear the ball whistle."

Framing this with a Colorado perspective, Allen is Ubaldo Jimenez of 2007. His passes come equipped with fire emojis. However to become a top-five pick or even first overall, he needs nuance like the 2010 Ubaldo Jimenez. Can Allen take speed off and demonstrate touch?

"That is my priority out here. To show accuracy," said Allen, whose 2017 season completion percentage of 56.3 has become more well known at Ladd-Peebles Stadium than his No. 17. 

Allen checked all the boxes Tuesday morning. He measured 6-4, 7/8, weighed 237 pounds and welcomed the idea of turning around the Cleveland Browns, working with Eli Manning and the Giants and "impressing the Broncos coaches."

Then came the practice. And back came the concerns.

He struggled with his command. He fired multiple passes over receivers' heads. And he nearly broke fingers with the heat on some short strikes. In fairness, he was not helped by clumsy pass catchers, who lacked familiarity with him and appeared to be pressing to impress assembled scouts. 

"It was OK. I had a few easy misses," Allen told reporters. "You knew it was going to be ugly the first day, learning the timing of new receivers. (Tuesday) will be better.”

And it was early in Wednesday's practice. Allen looked more comfortable on his first few short tosses. He connected with Colorado State's Michael Gallup, who has shown better-than-expected speed, on a 35-yard laser down the right end zone for a touchdown that drew gasps. 

If Broncos general manager John Elway fails to land Kirk Cousins, the Hope Diamond of the free agent class, he could turn his sights toward Allen or Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. Allen fits the quarterback mold of Elway the player. He morphs into MacGyver when plays become a disaster. And he make throws no one else can.

Mayfield is more accurate, and that showed Tuesday, but offers a different skillset. He goes 6-foot, 216 pounds. In a run-pass-option influenced scheme -- think Philadelphia Eagles -- he could transition smoothly to the NFL. He has limited experience taking snaps under center. 

Allen ran a pro style attack for the Cowboys. He finished his degree in order to participate in the Senior Bowl. He is a football gym rat, anxious to play professionally. I talked exclusively with Allen to get a better read on a polarizing prospect who has as much to gain as anyone this week.

He admitted seeing Elway pacing the sidelines at his bowl game left him a little starstruck. It drove home the reality of reaching the NFL, something he dreamed about as a boy growing up a 49ers fan in California while sleeping with a football every night.

"It was exciting. As a quarterback and a football player, you try not to get distracted by anything. But I kind of looked over there," Allen said. "Seeing him, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, it's not hard to get excited about the possibilities."

The Broncos have long been following Allen's growth. The idea of playing for Denver remains intriguing. 

"Getting a chance to work with their coaches here, it's a super awesome experience. They are really good," Allen said. "Laramie is about two hours away from Denver. I definitely like the weather up there. Hopefully the coaches come away pretty impressed."


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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.