Josh Allen has found himself in quite the predicament this year. Despite everything seemingly working against him, Josh Allen has accomplished some pretty impressive feats in his rookie season. Let’s take a look at Allen’s record breaking rookie season and see where he stacks up with some of the great rookie rushing quarterbacks.
With only four full starts in the season, Josh Allen’s rushing yards have him in some elite company. He already has the franchise record for Bills quarterbacks when it comes to rushing yards (389). The previous record holder was Dennis Shaw, who had 210 yards in the 1970 season. Allen’s stats place him 10th all-time in rushing yards for a rookie quarterback, and 8th overall since the AFL-NFL merger. Again, all coming from only four starts, and he has four games left. If we account for Allen’s rushing yards for all eight games he’s appeared in this season (including partial games), his 389 yards over that stretch would project him to finish with just over 580 rushing yards in his rookie season.
If he were to succeed, or possibly surpass, he would be third all-time in rushing yards for a quarterback in his rookie season, just behind Robert Griffin III (815) and Cam Newton (706). This is even more impressive when you consider that these two players played in 15 and 16 games, respectively. Allen will at most appear in 12, with only eight starts. We will see if Baltimore’s rookie sensation, Lamar Jackson, will return healthy enough to beat out Allen for this distinction. Regardless, Allen could at least beat out Tyrod Taylor’s franchise record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (580). Allen’s QB stats are impressive enough to give him a rushing average of 48.6 yards a game. That’s second behind Robert Griffin III’s 54.3 average, and two yards higher than Hall-of-Famer, Steve Young (46.6).
With the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers select: Cam Newton. Coming out of college with an impressive win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the title game, Newton was expected to be great, but other than issues with turnovers—which is to be expected from rookie QB’s— no one could have seen how great he would be for the Panthers.
Fantasy-wise, Newton totaled 375 points his rookie season, placing him third in points among quarterbacks in 2011. He ran for more than 700 yards and 14 touchdowns. Let me say that again for those in the back: that is 14 RUSHING touchdowns… for a quarterback. He silenced more people than the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones. Now that we are on the subject, did you know that no running back has had 14 or more touchdowns in a season since Arian Foster in 2012? What has hampered Newton’s success is his passing inefficiency. He ranked 14th in net expected points among quarterbacks with at least 200 drop backs.
Robert Griffin III
Oh, what could have been. If only the Redskins had understood what they had with RGIII. If only Shanahan had pulled him out of the game when they were ahead. If only RGIII ended up on a team with a coach who wanted him. RGIII’s rookie season was mostly mistake-free. It is assumed rookies will have a hard time adjusting to the tempo of an NFL game, but Griffin threw for 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Moreover, he rushed for more than 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. He only threw 427 passes in his debut season, but was incredibly efficient. With a lack of receiving weapons, Griffin made the most of his rushing attempts, with a NEP of .52; first among quarterbacks with 50+ rush attempts.
As further proof of his skills, Griffin had a success rate of 66.04%, meaning that about two-thirds of his attempts led to positive NEP. Due to a gruesome injury and incompetent coaching, Griffin ended his 2012 season with questions about further production. Even if he remains a back-up in the NFL, the league can never forget the talent, work-ethic and leadership he displayed his rookie season. If only the Ravens got to him sooner, but perhaps that doesn’t matter. Lamar Jackson could very well be the next player mentioned on this list.
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