1. He’s the ultimate underdog story. Allen was a zero-star recruit out of Firebaugh High School in Firebaugh, Calif – a small town about 40 miles west of Fresno. Allen grew up on a 3,000-acre farm, which was established in 1975 by his paternal grandfather. Allen wanted to attend Fresno State, which he grew up rooting for, but the coach at the time, Tim DeRuyter, did not offer him a scholarship. Neither did any other FBS or FCS program. Allen didn’t attend any elite quarterback camps, and he also played basketball and baseball (his fastball hit 90 mph) when he wasn’t working on the farm.
2. He landed on the NFL radar in 2016. After a year spent at Reedley Community College, Allen transferred to Wyoming. He played sparingly in 2015, but he took over as a starter the following year. He was named second-team All-Mountain West after throwing for 3,203 yards 28 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and rushing for another 523 yards. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds (with 10 1/8-inch hands) Allen has the perfect quarterback measurables.
3. His 2017 season didn’t live up to the hype. Allen was surrounded by a below-average supporting cast in 2017, losing his top two running backs, top three wide receivers and center from the year before. He threw for 1,658 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. The biggest knock on him is accuracy – he completed just 56 percent of his passes the past two years. A November shoulder injury kept him out of two games, but he returned for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and led Wyoming to a 37-24 win over Central Michigan.
4. He’s the most polarizing quarterback prospect in the class. Allen has the best arm of any quarterback prospect, which he has shown off at the NFL Scouting Combine and Wyoming’s Pro Day with some throws approaching 80 yards. Of course, rarely is that needed in the NFL. ESPN’s draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr., ranks Allen as the fifth-best prospect in the class and top quarterback. CBS Sports’ rankings have Allen as the No. 54 prospect in this year’s draft, sixth among quarterbacks. That’s quite a disparity. The most common pro comparison is to Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. Wentz, who went to North Dakota State, and Allen had the same college coach in Craig Bohl.
5. His social media posts from high school have come under criticism. Allen apologized Thursday for posts on his Twitter account from 2012 and 2013 when he was in high school that included racial and offensive language. “I hope you know and others know I’m not the type of person I was at 14 and 15 that I tweeted so recklessly. … I don’t want that to be the impression of who I am, because that is not me. I apologize for what I did.”