Josh Allen was still a year away from the NFL when he attended Archie Manning’s prestigious passing camp in 2017, but the college senior and future Buffalo Bills starter was still able to make a big impression on the Hall of Fame passer.
Manning recounted his first impression of Allen, who was the starting quarterback for the Wyoming Cowboys at the time he attended the Manning Passing Academy. As Manning recalled, there was one moment at the camp that Allen flashed the abilities that would put him on the cusp of a league MVP award.
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Manning Wowed by Allen’s Talent
As Manning recalled, Allen wasn’t quite a big name when he attended the camp in 2017 and his talent wasn’t quite as evident. He would be one of the top prospects by the end of his senior season and reaching near the top of the draft board, but Manning said there was a moment at camp that he could see Allen’s talent.
“I can remember that particular year we were doing a competition one day, the college quarterbacks, and it started raining,” Manning said during an appearance on the “Upon Further Review” podcast. “We didn’t get them off the field because there wasn’t lightning – so we let them go. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone throw a wet football like Josh Allen threw that day.”
— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) April 16, 2021
As Matt Parino of Syracuse.com noted, the camp made a big impression on Allen as well and helped him form some lasting relationships. USC quarterback Sam Darnold attended as well, and he and Allen would go on to become close and have spent some offseasons together working with former NFL quarterback turned coach Jordan Palmer.
Allen Has Room to Grow
Allen had a breakout year in his third NFL season, setting a number of team records and finishing second behind Aaron Rodgers in the MVP voting. There are some who believe he could do even better in 2021. Appearing on Good Morning Football last week, analyst Peter Schrager said he believes Allen could take home the award in the coming season.
“I don’t think like… he’s a MVP candidate, I think he’s a MVP favorite for this season,” Schrager said, via USA Today’s Bills Wire. “I think that’s the next step.”
The Bills have done work to keep the offense largely intact, re-signing linemen Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams and snagging Emmanuel Sanders to replace John Brown. The Bills are expected to make more moves, with general manager Brandon Beane saying after the playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that the Bills needed a play-making tight end.
The Bills retained nearly their entire core. Josh Allen made a huge leap last year, but he will get better. And culture matters.
Why Buffalo remains the top threat to Kansas City in the AFC ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/UYsYmE27xD
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 17, 2021
Allen’s strong play isn’t a surprise for Manning, who said he saw the potential in the quarterback when he showed up for the camp as a college student.
“He’s a great young man and I can’t say – I’m somewhat surprised how well he’s played because he’s played well so quick,” Manning said. “But he’s a great player and a great young man.”