One of the key reasons the Buffalo Bills were so high on quarterback Josh Allen coming out of Wyoming in the 2018 NFL Draft was his mobility. A player standing at 6-foot-5 and 238 pounds that can move the way Allen does is something teams covet every year. They are willing to take a chance on a player that presents such a versatile repertoire, even if they have other red flags in their game.
The jury is still out on whether the Bills’ risk has become a reward in the form of a star quarterback, but one thing is for certain – Allen’s rushing ability is as advertised. Although he hasn’t become one of the league’s best passers from within the pocket, Allen’s ability to create chunk plays, and scoring plays in the red zone with his legs has made up for a lot of those inconsistencies.
You can’t fully evaluate Allen’s game while ignoring the 500-plus yards annually he produces on the ground. Yards are yards. Production is production, and Allen provides elite production among rushing quarterbacks.
After 27 starts, Allen’s rushing numbers are up there with the best scrambling quarterbacks in NFL history.
Compared to the five signal callers with the most rushing yards in NFL history after their first 27 starts, Allen is on a very similar pace:
Rushing yards after 27 starts:
- Michael Vick: 1,353 yards
- Randall Cunningham: 1,225 yards
- Cam Newton: 1,152 yards
- Josh Allen: 1,115 yards
- Steve Young: 1,031 yards
- Russell Wilson: 898 yards
Where Allen even stands out ahead of the league’s best to ever do it is rushing touchdowns. Among the top-five quarterbacks with the most rushing touchdowns (after the NFL-AFL merger), Allen has the second-most after 27 games.
Touchdowns after 27 starts:
- Cam Newton – 18
- Josh Allen – 17
- Jack Kemp – 14
- Michael Vick – 10
- Steve McNair – 10
- Steve Young – 8
Allen is becoming one of the great players at his position in finishing scoring drives with his legs. It is early, but with the unknown surrounding new New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton’s long-term health, Allen could end up with the most rushing touchdowns of any quarterback in league history.
Outside of a healthy Newton, Allen has become the best short yardage rushing quarterback in football. That is where his impressive size and physical running style really takes over, but this is also a scrambler that can create chunk yardage plays if defenses give up too much space.
Compared to Newton and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the two modern-day quarterbacks consistently in top five rushing statistics, Allen has been just as good at making a scramble drill turn into a 20-plus yard run.
Runs of 20-plus yards after 27 starts:
- Josh Allen – 9
- Cam Newton – 9
- Russell Wilson – 6
Some quarterbacks primarily use their scrambling ability to escape the pocket and open things up to pass. The rushing yardage isn’t always there on a consistent basis. That isn’t the case for Allen.
He certainly has made some impressive throws on the run (he has been more dangerous as a passer in those situations), but the Bills have also been able to bank on a certain floor of production across the line of scrimmage from Allen’s legs.
Most yards per-game after 27 starts:
- Michael Vick – 50.1
- Randall Cunningham: 45.3
- Cam Newton: 42.6
- Josh Allen: 41.2
- Russell Wilson: 33.2
- Daunte Culpepper: 32.8
The Bills got out of Allen exactly what they expected from a mobility standpoint. His best plays as a pro have come from his ability to keep any play alive. If he can fix his deep ball accuracy and continue to improve in the short and intermediate levels as he did in 2019, look out.
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