Has Josh Allen Already Had the Best Rookie Season of Any Jaguars’ Top Pick This Decade?
When Josh Allen shot past Indianapolis Colts' right tackle Braden Smith to sack quarterback Jacoby Brissett to notch his eighth sack of his rookie season, he put himself in the Jaguars' history books only 10 games into his first year.
For one, eight sacks is tied for the most a Jaguars defender has ever had in their rookie season. Yannick Ngakoue, Allen's running mate at defensive end, set the record in 2016. Ngakoue had a really good rookie season. Allen? He is having an elite one.
In 431 snaps this season, Allen has totaled the eight sacks, 32 total pressures, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Allen still has six games to add onto those stats, but even if he didn't play another down those figures would be good production for the player Jacksonville selected seventh overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Does this lead to the question... is Allen the best Jaguars' first-round pick in the entire past decade? Considering the numerous busts Jacksonville has drafted in the first round in the 2010s, that may not be saying too much, but the fact we can ask the question only 10 games into Allen's career is staggering.
For reference, here are the Jaguars' first-round picks' rookie seasons over the last decade and how Allen stacks up:
DT Tyson Alualu (2010): 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, 15 quarterback pressures in 791 snaps over 16 games.
QB Blaine Gabbert (2011): Completed 50.8% of passes for 2,214 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 437 snaps over 15 games.
WR Justin Blackmon (2012): 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns in 890 snaps over 16 games.
OT Luke Joeckel (2013): Started four games at right tackle and one game at left tackle before injury ended rookie season. Played 272 snaps over five games.
QB Blake Bortles (2014): Completed 58.9% of his passes for 2,908 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions in 896 snaps over 14 games. Also rushed for 419 yards.
DE Dante Fowler Jr. (2015): Tore his ACL during rookie minicamp, did not play in rookie season.
CB Jalen Ramsey (2016): Recorded two interceptions, 14 pass breakups and a forced fumble in 1,059 snaps over 16 games.
RB Leonard Fournette (2017): Rushed for 1,040 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns in 562 snaps over 13 games. Also caught 36 passes for 302 yards and a touchdown.
DT Taven Bryan (2018): Recorded one sack, three tackles for loss and five quarterback pressures in 301 snaps over 16 games.
DE Josh Allen (2019): Recorded eight sacks, 32 quarterback pressures, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 431 snaps over 10 games.
So according to strictly production, Allen has already lapped every other Jaguars' first-round pick of the last decade... and he is only 10 games into his rookie season. The only two players who really can make an argument against Allen are Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette.
Ramsey had a better rookie season than his pure numbers would indicate, as he gave the Jaguars a true shutdown cornerback who was able to eliminate halves of the field. Because of this he wasn't overly targeted, and his impact was still made without the gaudy numbers.
Fournette was pivotal to Jacksonville's run to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, but a lot of his stats were due to his pure volume of carries and how often Jacksonville crafted their offense around him. Even with that said though, 10 touchdowns in 13 games is solid.
But it is hard to compare those impacts to what Allen has done in only 10 games. There have only three games this season where Allen has even played 75% or more of the team's defensive snaps, so it is not like he is producing in an every-down role. He is being rotated in and still leads the NFL's rookie class in sacks.
Though it is obvious above that Jacksonville has struggled mightily over the past decade, Allen has still separated himself as the top dog in barely over half of a season. Even if he doesn't take another snap in 2019, he will have the production and impact to stake his claim as the Jaguars' top pick with the best rookie season of the past 10 years.