Mahomes, Jackson Get Headlines, but They Aren't the Only Young QBs on the Rise

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterSeptember 20, 2019

Josh Allen is one of the quarterbacks emerging this season as a future star.
Josh Allen is one of the quarterbacks emerging this season as a future star.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Here we are again, watching a young group of quarterbacks change the NFL.

You know the names, and two of the biggest, Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Baltimore's Lamar Jackson, play each other Sunday. That game spotlights what could turn into a remarkable rivalry not seen since Peyton and Tom.

But other young quarterbacks are quietly impressing people around the league and transforming their franchises. They aren't as visible. Or as respected. Yet they are still changing everything for their teams.

One of those players is Buffalo's Josh Allen.

Allen's critics say he's a glorified running back who couldn't throw a football into a large body of water. Then there is this AFC West scout who represents the other faction of the league's evaluators.

"Josh is quietly becoming a dominant thrower," said the scout, referring to Allen's improving accuracy. "He's not as recognized because he's not flashy, and he plays in a football wasteland."

Buffalo isn't a total football wasteland. The table-smashing there is second to none.

But while the Bills did make the playoffs in 2017, that was their only postseason appearance in the past 19 years. Buffalo has been the football equivalent of the post-apocalyptic Earth from the Mad Max series.

Allen might change that. The Bills could be smashing tables to celebrate him for a long time to come.

Jimmy Garoppolo has led the 49ers to a 2-0 start.
Jimmy Garoppolo has led the 49ers to a 2-0 start.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

No, Allen isn't perfect, and neither is the 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo nor the Rams' Jared Goff. But they, too, are quietly impressing the league.

"Not sexy players, not as dominant as [Mahomes and Jackson]," the scout said, "but they are having a huge impact. ... Jimmy G has improved since the preseason, and Goff is the team MVP so far."

These are The Other Guys. 

The Bills, 49ers and Rams are all 2-0 without a QB getting as much hype this season as Mahomes or Jackson.

This is all good news for the league. It means there's depth at the position. In fact, it's possible that in a year or two Allen, Garoppolo and Goff will become stars themselves.

Goff in particular could have a chance to shine. To date, he has been overshadowed by Todd Gurley II and a defense that includes Aaron Donald. He's also been overshadowed by Sean McVay, who is one of the most charismatic coaches in football. But they may give way to Goff. Already this season, Gurley's touches and production have decreased.

You can see each player impacting their teams in significant ways that don't always lead the highlights or generate social media likes.

According to the NFL, the Bills are tied for first in the league with red-zone touchdown percentage (5-of-5), and that's largely due to the running threat Allen poses. Last season, he led all quarterbacks with eight rushing touchdowns. He has two this year.

Some of the improving numbers this group is generating are impressive, even if not at the Mahomes-Jackson level.

  • Garoppolo went from an 80.2 passer rating in the season opener against Tampa Bay to a 131.0 rating against the Bengals.
  • Allen is completing 64.2 percent of his passes after hitting 52.8 percent last season.
  • Goff had a 112.6 rating against the Saints last week and has already surpassed 10,000 career passing yards (40 starts into his career).
  • Garoppolo (131.0), Goff (112.6) and Allen (101.1) were second, sixth and 11th in passer rating in Week 2.
  • Garoppolo's 11.9 yards per attempt led all quarterbacks during Week 2. Goff tied (with Mahomes) for second at 10.1
  • Garoppolo is 8-2 as a 49ers starter. Allen has begun this season with a 2-0 road record (both at MetLife Stadium).

No, they are not the best young quarterbacks in football, but they are good.

They are, like Mahomes and Jackson, changing the destinies of their teams.

                    

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.

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