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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Buffalo Bills
Mac Jones, New England Patriots (Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) /

11. Mac Jones (New England Patriots)

Just a spot ahead of his predecessor at Alabama, Mac came in and turned a lot of heads with how prepared he was from Day 1. He put the pro in pro-ready, as he beat out Cam Newton to start each game for the Pats as they charged back to the playoffs.

Is Jones a superstar? Not necessarily. He was able to set a new franchise rookie record for TD passes (22) by precisely attacking the short-to-intermediate area of the field. He was also able to lean on the rushing duo of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, which offset not having a true No. 1 receiver.

Although he was able to produce well with TE Hunter Henry, New England’s strong rushing attack was Jones’ best friend. Just look at some of his numbers on running downs vs. passing downs. He had seven different downs and distances where he had over a 100 passer rating, which includes 2nd and 4-6, 3rd and 4-6, with only one clear passing scenario, 3rd and 7-9.

His two lowest-rated downs? Both 2nd and 3rd and 10+.

Jones is a tough evaluation because he did a lot of good things. He was by far the best rookie QB last season in a deep class of passers that had five go in the first round. He ranked in the top half of the league in several categories, including passing yards, passing TDs, QBR, and passer rating.

Jones also led the Pats to a seven-game winning streak in the middle of the year and he even flashed a little more athleticism than anticipated — Mac was able to average 7.1 yards per scramble, which ranked ahead of the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and Joe Burrow.

But he also took his lumps too. In his final six outings (including the playoffs) Jones totaled eight TD passes and seven INTs, as New England lost three of its last four regular season games before getting smoked out in the Wild Card round against the Bills.

The recent addition of DeVante Parker should help Jones take another step in 2022. But as I mentioned as a polished, pro-ready player already, it seems unlikely that Jones will ever rise to the most elite level of QBs due to his good-not-great arm strength and speed as a runner.