Pro Football Focus (PFF) has compiled their annual quarterback rankings in a 341-page manifesto covering just about any aspect one can dream of on 35 NFL signal callers. For those unfamiliar with PFF, they grade every throw made for each quarterback across a variety of metrics such as ball placement, potential for a turnover, and far more. While this results in rankings, it also gives comparisons to every other quarterback in many key measures.
In a stunning coincidence, the Buffalo Bills happen to have a quarterback. He goes by the name of “Josh Allen.” PFF had plenty to say on the rookie quarterback, much of which won’t assuage the fears of Bills fans. Allen was up and down all season, with weekly rankings from first to worst. PFF called Allen “a fascinating player to watch in 2018, as you had no idea what you were going to get from play to play or game to game.” Allen’s season had him rated as the 27th-best quarterback.
Allen’s critics often cite inaccuracy as a potentially insurmountable problem. His completion percentage of 52.8% only helps that argument. One area PFF examines is adjusted completion rate, which accounts for things like dropped passes, throwaways, and spiked balls. With these considerations, Allen’s adjusted completion percentage climbs to 64.7%, which is a big jump. Unfortunately, when looking at every quarterback with this lens, Allen is dead last in the league. The NFL average was 75.3%. There is some comfort to be found, however, as all five first-round rookies were below average. Lamar Jackson, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold round out the bottom four, with Baker Mayfield only barely missing out on league average (74%).
An interesting area of measurement comes from PFFs grading of “Big Time Throws” and “Turnover-Worthy Plays.” Big Time Throws are made when a pass was considered high difficulty and high value. In other words, likely to result in a big play while showing a lot of skill. Turnover-Worthy Plays are those that carry a high risk of resulting in a turnover. Allen is decently above average when it comes to Turnover-Worthy Plays (that’s bad). He’s also a little better than average at creating Big Time Throws. As a result, Allen is placed in the “Volatile” category in a quadrant-based labeling system. The other three labels aside from “volatile” are “best,” “worst” and “safe.” Darnold, Jackson and Rosen landed in the “worst” quadrant. Mayfield found himself in “best.”
PFF has a ton of fun odds and ends to look through, so to whet your appetite here’s a couple more Allen facts. Allen had the longest average time to throw at 3.2 seconds. Lamar Jackson had the second-longest and was the only rookie anywhere in the neighborhood of Allen. Under pressure, Allen was graded as the 13th-best quarterback of the 35 ranked.
If you’re interested in the full thing (and there’s plenty of reason to be), head through to this conveniently clickable link right here. A subscription is required, but it’s worth the price of admission if you’re itching for a deep dive.