MOBILE, Ala. -- Before a single pass had been thrown at Senior Bowl practice this week, there was one person with intimate knowledge on the topic who said Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen had to be a far more accurate passer to reach his NFL potential.
And that was, well, Josh Allen.
Allen, one of the headliners at the annual all-star game, has certainly been quick to say "I know I've got a lot of flaws as a quarterback." And when asked earlier this week about his 56.2 career completion percentage in three seasons with the Cowboys, he added: "I've been working on that; obviously 56 percent is not anywhere close to where it needs to be. You can go look at the tape ... I've made a lot of strides from the year before."
There's the bottom-line issue with the guy who just might be the most polarizing player in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-4⅞ tall and 237 pounds with a power arm and athleticism, Allen is the if-you-could-build-a-quarterback guy in this draft.
He also likely has elicited the most either-or, quick-hit, love-hate evaluations of any of the top prospects. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. made him the No. 1 pick of his mock draft to the Cleveland Browns, while others, armed with a variety of statistical ammunition, paint a different picture.
After two days' worth of practices at the Senior Bowl, Allen has shown a little bit of everything, from the special strong-arm throws to his still-ongoing battle with getting the ball to go where he wants it to go consistently. Asked what part of his game he wanted to work on in the months to come, Allen was quick to address the elephant in the room.
"The accuracy, of course," Allen said. "Being able to put the ball where it needs to be put at any given time."
Allen said he received "no interest" from any college programs as a prep player, so he went to Reedley Community College in California before his three seasons at Wyoming. He battled some injuries in two of those seasons, including this past year -- when he started 11 games. He completed 56 percent of his passes in 2016 to go with 56.3 percent of his passes this season.
He also struggled at times against some of the bigger programs, including a 23-of-40 passing day with two interceptions against Iowa as well as a 9-of-24 passing day with an interception against Oregon this past season.
But the NFL is about projections, about what might be. So for some in the league he is the walking, running, chuck-it-around embodiment of upside, a player at the league's most coveted position who could be far more than he is right now. But history says it's difficult to improve accuracy by leaps and bounds as a quarterback battles defenses that allow far smaller throwing windows than college defenses do. That will be a big part of the decision process for who selects Allen and when.
"Josh Allen has a wonderful throwing arm -- he made some big-time throws [Wednesday]," said Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph, whose staff is directing the North team in preparation for Saturday's game. "He's in command of the huddle. That was good to see."
Videos of Allen's throws, from the deep outs that have sizzled into receivers' hands to the overthrows, have dotted social media this week -- as have opinions as to what Allen can, or can't, be in an NFL offense.
Even the Broncos, with the No. 5 pick and a self-professed big need at quarterback, will have to decide if they would pick Allen in that spot if they have the chance.
For his part, Allen made it part of his mission in 2017 to get to the Senior Bowl. Because he was in his junior season, he needed, by rule, to have his degree to participate. Allen said he did some extra course work last summer and took a full class load this past season.
"I'm the ultimate competitor -- I'm not going to bow down to anybody ... my main goal is to win," Allen said. "I'm going to do everything in my power to put the team in position to win the football game ... I'm going to take everything with a chip on my shoulder still and go out there and compete."