Things really clicked for Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen in his senior year for the Razorbacks. The 23-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native went 7/10 for 106 yards in Saturday's Reese's Senior Bowl.
"We only had two series, but had a chance to get two scoring drives and had a two-minute drill, threw a couple of nice balls," Allen said. "Overall, I was pretty happy with it."
One of the big question marks Allen had to overcome at the Senior Bowl was his hand size, 8.5 inches, the smallest of any of the invited quarterbacks. Allen was set out to prove to NFL scouts that his hand size wouldn't be a factor playing pro football.
Said Allen: "I think from the weigh-ins one of the question marks was my hand size. I wanted to prove it all week and today that my hand size hadn't affected me before and it won't affect me now. I can still spin it with the best of them, and I was hoping to prove that today."
Allen had a better outing for the South squad than did North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, who led the North in the first quarter going 6/10 for 50 yards. Still, one game doesn't "win" the draft for any one player. Whichever among the eight invitees stood atop the quarterback mountain in Mobile would still have to produce more impressive NFL scouting combine showings and pro timing day results to catapult to the head of the draft class.
In other words, junior standouts Jared Goff from Cal and Paxton Lynch from Memphis have yet to arrive to the party. When they do at the NFL scouting combine later this month in Indianapolis, the prospect rankings will be even more jumbled.
If the Cowboys aren't able to use their fourth overall pick to take a blue-chipper at quarterback, or opt to upgrade another position with that premium pick, and they don't like the quarterbacks available early in the second round when Dallas picks 34th overall, the Cowboys would consider using a later pick on Allen. Reports indicated the Cowboys took heavy interest in Allen at the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23.
CowboysHQ has learned Dallas also interviewed the Hogs quarterback down in Mobile, though Allen was assigned to the South coached by the Jaguars staff.
Coming from Bret Bielema's pro style offense at Arkansas, Allen believes he wouldn't have much of a learning curve to overcome to contribute to an NFL squad.
"I think coming from a pro style offense is really going to help me translate well," said Allen. "A lot of guys nowadays don't huddle, don't call plays in the huddle, don't go under center. I think me being a in a pro style offense will really help my chances of adapting well there. And I think I can throw the ball accurately with a lot of velocity on it. I've seen a lot of guys throw the ball accurately. I can throw it just as far and just as strong as those guys."
If the Cowboys were to take Allen, he would come in immediately and compete with incumbent backup Kellen Moore, veteran Matt Cassel, and practice squader Jameill Showers for a spot on the roster. His smarts, maturity, decisive reads, and accuracy, traits Allen claims he has, would have to elevate to an NFL level to make the team. Taking Allen in the 2016 draft would be Dallas signaling they haven't found their franchise quarterback, their successor to Romo, but rather another interesting prospect they hope will grow into a competent backup role or trade bait.
For now, Allen will go to Boca Raton, Florida and train with XPE Sports Academy headed up by Tony Villani to work on his speed and keep the arm fresh for the combine. Aside from the drills in Indianapolis, Allen recognizes that acing the meetings is another integral component which he is intent upon proving.
"I think the combine is going to be a lot of what you do in meetings. I want to show how football smart I am. And, again, when I'm out there throwing the ball, they're going to put in a lot of routes that a lot of NFL guys want to see. And I want to show them I can make all the throws and hand size has never been an issue for me. And along with show them a little bit of athleticism and test well."