During his rookie season in 2018, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen got knocked to the ground on the Baltimore Ravens sideline. Allen jumped up screaming and got in the face of then-Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon.
“Hey, calm down, dude,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told Allen. “You’re on our sideline over here.”
Fearlessness is one of the traits that defines Allen, as well as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, especially when it comes to running with the football as they’re currently the only two quarterbacks to lead their teams in rushing. The duo has gone from draft-day question marks to the best QBs from the 2018 class, and when the Ravens play host to the Bills on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Allen and Jackson will represent one of the best quarterback duos from the same draft class in NFL history.
They’ve combined for a total of 261 touchdowns, which currently ranks fourth for the most combined passing and rushing touchdowns by a first-round quarterback pair in their first five seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They need three to pass the 1983 duo of Dan Marino and John Elway.
That’s not bad considering it was Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen who were pegged as the more polished QB prospects in 2018. Allen was a small-school passer from Wyoming who struggled with accuracy, and Jackson was labeled a boom-or-bust talent from Louisville who didn’t fit the mold of the traditional pocket quarterback.
But now, ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller ranks Allen and Jackson alongside all-time great draft duos such as Elway and Marino, Joe Montana and Phil Simms and Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
Miller ranks the top 10 QB duos from the same draft class dating back to 1967, which was the first year the NFL and AFL had a combined draft, known as the common draft era. And NFL Nation reporters recount the paths each quarterback took to the NFL. — Jamison Hensley
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