A year ago, after his first year as a starting quarterback at Wyoming, Josh Allen took a summer job as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, Louisiana. It was his first job working alongside Eli Manning.
And it may not be his last.
Allen is considered by many to be one of the top three quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL draft, which makes him definitely in play for the Giants, who hold the No. 2 overall selection. Even with the Giants seemingly set on bringing Manning back as their starter in 2018, they are strongly considering drafting a quarterback in the first round, according to multiple sources.
And if it's Allen, he sounds like he'd be thrilled to get a chance to work with Manning again.
"Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper are one of the greatest families -- not just football families -- but just great families that you could ever meet," Allen said on Monday night at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. "They're extremely special people. They're super down to earth and they care a lot about football.
"Obviously getting able to talk to Peyton and Eli and taking what they had to say about what they did leading up (to games) and stuff like that, how they watch film, what they watched on certain days, their routine from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night, it was just really cool to try to emulate that because Eli and Peyton have had really successful careers. And as any quarterback wants a successful career, there's a certain path to follow and they've set the path."
It's far too early to know if Allen will be a realistic option for the Giants at No. 2, or even the quarterback-needy Jets at No. 6. There are some NFL people who believe Allen will be snapped up by the Cleveland Browns with the first overall selection. Others see him dropping outside of the Top 10.
The disparity is due to his largely unimpressive season at Wyoming, against less-than-NFL-caliber competition in a conference far from the Power Five. There are plenty of scouts who think the strong-arm, 6-foot-4 quarterback might just be the best of the bunch - especially eventually. But he still needs to convince others that despite a sub-par season in the Mountain West Conference -- in which he had accuracy issues, only one game with more than 240 yards passing, and was hardly a dominant player as his team went 8-5 - he's is still worthy of being a Top 10 quarterback and a man who can turn a down franchise around.
"I want them to know what type of person I am -- the type of person off the field and on the field," Allen said. "I want them to know that I can understand football terminology. Obviously coming from Wyoming and not playing against the greatest competition week in and week out, I don't think that has anything to do with football IQ. And I want them to understand that I have a high football IQ and I love this game.
"If there is one thing about me, I do love the game of football and this is the only thing I've ever wanted for my entire life - to be an NFL quarterback."
What NFL people really want to know, though, is if Allen can play at their level. No one doubts the tools - the size, the arm, even his football IQ. In many ways he's the prototype for an NFL quarterback.
But outside of a 328-yard game against Gardner-Webb in September, his play this season didn't rise anywhere near his potential. Seven times he threw for fewer than 100 yards. In all, he completed only 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions in 11 games.
He was much better a year ago, when in his first year as a starter he completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns (albeit with 15 interceptions). But his drop in stats and his overall issues with accuracy remain a concern.
Allen said he's been working on cleaning that up this offseason, and he hopes to prove that he has during practices and the game this week. Of course, he knows he's probably never going to be the most accurate quarterback. He considers himself more of a "gunslinger" who will miss on some throws mostly because there is no throw he's afraid to make.
"Looking back at guys like (Brett) Favre and (Aaron) Rodgers, they're not afraid to put it in any spot on the field," Allen said. "I've got kind of the same mindset. Obviously I've got a good enough arm to do it, but I understand in the NFL guys get faster, they get smarter. It's harder to complete balls in the NFL. So being more accurate and making better decisions with the football is what I plan to do."
That might take some time. It will also take playing for the right team, which is obviously something out of his control. He said he's not afraid of being taken first overall by a Browns team that has won just one game in the last two seasons, but he probably understands he'd be in a better situation if he was taken by the Giants.
And in the end, finding the right situation is what's most important to him.
"It's not about going as high as possible; it's going as high as possible to the right team," Allen said. "So if I'm not the right for the Browns, that's fine with me. I understand that some people fit schemes differently. If I'm a better fit somewhere else, then I belong at that other place. So it's not about getting drafted high for me. It's about getting drafted to the right team."