It’s both a respectful and curious placement for Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in a recent ranking operation conducted by the football analytics folks.
Going off of talent alone, nothing with the business side of things considered, Allen was pegged as the seventh-best quarterback that was drafted between the years 2017-2021 by Pro Football Focus via ESPN. Yes, the operation is even considering future rookies.
First, here’s why Allen was pegged at No. 7 overall:
Before the season, Allen wouldn’t have come close to cracking the top 10 here. That’s indicative of how fickle the business of player evaluation can be, but also a testament to the kind of leap Allen made from Year 2 to Year 3 with the Bills. He has massively improved in the one area most agree is nearly impossible to improve: accuracy.
The numbers are astounding. He went from his targeted passes being deemed accurate 51.4% of the time in 2019 to 59% in 2020. He went from his targeted passes being deemed uncatchable 26.8% of the time in 2019 to 16.5% in 2020. That’s a leap we’ve really never seen in our charting. At only 24 years old, and with one year of junior college and two years of starting in the Mountain West under his belt before he entered the NFL, Allen is a “tools” prospect success story.
Leading the pack in this ranking is Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. While that comes as little surprise, the list immediately gets interesting after him. The next four players listed, respectively, to round out the top-five are Trevor Lawrence, DeShaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow.
In the case of Lawrence and Burrow, we have a guy that hasn’t played in the NFL yet and a player who is still a rookie with worse numbers than Allen has this season. Both quarterbacks do have huge potential projections attached to them, but that’s lofty to estimate that sort of placement ahead of Allen. Think about Sam Darnold, he was expected to be better than, right? Where you were drafted means little once a career gets going.
Watson certainly is a franchise quarterback, but even Jackson’s slot is intriguing as well. You can’t take his 2019 MVP Award away from him, but in 2020, teams have appeared to catch up to him and the Ravens’ offensive scheme.
But all-in-all, as the breakdown indicates, just a few months ago Allen would have never landed in such a projection. It appears the Bills do have an excellent option under center for them for the foreseeable future.