According to a panel of 11 NFL analysts, Buffalo Bills signal-caller Josh Allen is the toughest quarterback in the league.
ESPN asked analysts Matt Bowen, Tim Hasselbeck, Mina Kimes, Booger McFarland, Louis Riddick, Mike Tannenbaum, Seth Walder, and Field Yates, as well as Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus and Aaron Schatz and Derrik Klassen of Football Outsiders to “rank their personal top 10 NFL quarterbacks entering the 2021 season in 12 distinct categories, from arm strength to field vision.” Then, using a points system, ESPN generated a final ranking in each category.
For “toughness”, the group defined it as “a quarterback’s bounce-back and resilience” and “how well he can take a hit.”
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While Allen places first on this list, speedsters Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson of the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens are second and third respectively. Embattled QB Deshaun Watson and former MVP Patrick Mahomes are tied for fourth, and are followed by Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
“Allen, with his physical size, strength and ability as both a runner and thrower, separates himself slightly from the group for me as the one guy who would scare me the most if I had to line up and defend him for a full 60 minutes,” Riddick wrote.
Allen Is a Top-5 QB in Nearly Every Category
As far as the other 11 categories go, Allen cracked the top-10 in all but three of them – “touch”, “field vision” and “decision-making with the football”. In the other eight rankings, Allen placed inside the top-five in six categories.
He is second in “arm strength” – behind only Mahomes – third in both “scrambling” and “designed run ability” (Jackson is first for both), fourth in “second-reaction ability” (Mahomes), and fifth in both “compete level” (Brady) and “pocket presence” (Rodgers). Allen ranks tied for seventh in “mechanics” (Brady) ninth in “accuracy” (Rodgers).
“Allen has to be higher on the list given his noticeable development as a pocket thrower,” Bowen writes of Allen’s ninth-place finish in accuracy. “In 2019, Allen completed just 58.8% of his passes, but that number jumped to 69.2% this past season, which was good for fourth in the NFL. Paired with his rare physical traits at the position, Allen can throw with both accuracy and location, putting him in the upper tier of the NFL’s quarterbacks.”
Allen Makes NFL Network’s Top-10 Overall Players List
With his consistent ranks among the NFL’s elite QBs in the exercise from ESPN, plus his MVP runner-up finish last season, it’s no surprise that Allen has been announced as a top-10 player in the entire league on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” this year. While his exact finish has yet to be revealed, news of Allen’s placement inside the top-10 was released Sunday night.
Allen was No. 87 on the countdown last year and will join three teammates who have already made the top-100 this year. At the back-end, wide receiver Cole Beasley and cornerback Tre-Davious White are on the list at No. 96 and 95 respectively, while stud wideout Stefon Diggs barely missed the cut for the top-10 at No. 11.
The top-10 reveal will air on Sunday on the NFL Network.