Ranking Josh Allen among the QBs of the AFC before 2022 NFL Draft

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Josh Allen
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)

Another member of the 2020 NFL Draft class, Herbert is building up a mythical start to his career in LA. While the team is 15-17 with Herbert as a starter, that record speaks more to how the Chargers are figuring themselves out as they build around their 24-year old superstar.

After being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Herbert’s year two performance earned him his first Pro Bowl selection. He set a franchise record with 5,014 passing yards, going along with 38 TD passes, 15 INTs, a 97.7 passer rating, and 65.6 QBR.

Herbert’s first two seasons have been historically good. Not only does he have the most yards and TD passes for a player in their first two NFL seasons (9,350 yards, 69 TDs), he’s the only QB that’s thrown for 30 or more touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.

It’s rare to see a player who may check off every box. Even with a rocket right arm, Herbert still maintains a very accurate ball (80.2% on-target throws rate, 14.6% poor-throws rate in ’21). Those numbers ranked third and sixth, respectively, in the league overall.

He did this all while the Chargers receivers had the fifth-highest drop rate in the NFL.

And what may be Herbert’s most underrated skill set is his scrambling ability. His 7.8 yards per scramble is one of the better marks for a starting QB in the game and he’s totaled eight rushing TDs since debuting in 2020 (seventh in the league in that span).

So what can he improve on? I guess the biggest thing would be playing clean football. In 15 career wins, Herbert has 44 total TDs (39 passing, 5 rushing) against five total TOs (four INTs, 1 fumble) with a 114.4 passer rating. In his 17 losses, Herbert has 33 total scores (30 passing, 3 rushing) against 22 total TOs (21 INTs, 1 fumble) with an 84.4 passer rating.

I think Herbert also needs to carry consistency over into the later stages of games. Through the first three quarters of action, the Oregon product has had a 100.5 passer rating over his first two seasons. But that number dips down to 83.9 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Chargers could have one of the top offenses in the game in 2022, as Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and the newly acquired Gerald Everett, all join Herbert for what should be another high-scoring unit. LA’s offense should get some help from its defense too, with Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson coming in during the offseason after the team ranked in the bottom half of the league in most defensive metrics last year.

The future looks bright for Hebert and the Chargers. And if they keep adding to this talented roster, there’s no telling where their emerging superstar can take them.