While I'll be surprised if the Browns don't pick Darnold first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, I wasn't surprised to hear Cleveland decided to send a contingent, including owner Jimmy Haslam, to Laramie, Wyo., to see Allen work out on Friday. He's my No. 4 QB in the draft, and he has a chance to be the best NFL player of this year's QB class.
Here are my takeaways from Allen's pro-day workout.
1) I can't remember a time when a quarterback prospect has done a better job in the offseason. Allen had a great performance in January at the Reese's Senior Bowl. He was the talk of the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month with the athletic ability and arm strength he showed off in Indianapolis. On Friday, he had one of the better pro-day throwing sessions we'll see. He won the offseason.
2) Allen's footwork, accuracy and touch were improved at the pro day from what we saw him from him a few weeks ago at the combine. It was clear that he and his QB coach, Jordan Palmer, wanted to focus on touch throws in this workout, and he showed well in that area. Of course, he also showed off his cannon of a right arm. He threw fastballs with ease.
3) Allen still needs to work on anticipation. That's going to be a challenge for him because he has such a strong arm and will lock onto his first read at times, but I think he can do it if given time to develop before he's thrust into action in the NFL. That's why landing with a team that has an established starter would be the ideal scenario for him.
4) I'm expecting four QBs to go in the top six picks next month, and I expect Allen to be in that group. Now, where he goes is still a question, but he reminded everyone on Friday of just how special he can be. He has rare arm talent, but he doesn't quite have the same touch and precision that guys like Darnold and Baker Mayfield possess. Allen has the most upside of any QB in this draft, but he also has a lower floor than some of his fellow signal-callers.
5) One executive who's been making the rounds to the QB workouts this draft season texted me this message on Friday: "These (pro days) are all the same to me. Let the tape and intangibles make your decision."
At the end of the day, teams have to go back to the tape and decide if they're comfortable with what they see from the QB. There's no doubt he had some rough outings against Power Five competition during his college career, but there's also no denying his upside. I see Allen making progress. He's trending up, but he's going to need time to fully realize his potential. He needs a franchise that will be patient with him. The payoff could be huge.