ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – There are a lot of similarities between Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson when it comes to their journey in the NFL so far in their young careers.
Both were drafted in the first-round in 2018 (Allen 7th overall, Jackson 32nd overall) while both the Bills and Ravens traded up to get their franchise quarterbacks.
And even though both showed impressive athleticism and ability as a duel threat, mobile quarterback, both were met with criticism and doubters.
There were questions surrounding Allen’s accuracy coming out of college and even throughout his first two seasons in the NFL. Even though he improved his short, intermediate game, he struggled to connect on the deep ball last season.
As for Jackson, the criticism came from his style of quarterback play and doubt about whether or not that could translate into becoming a stable force in the pocket and deliver the big throws when needed. At the combine there were even talks about him possibly working out at a different position that he quickly put to rest.
But Jackson proved the haters wrong and went on the win the league’s MVP in 2019 while Allen has silenced critics after completing the best regular season by a Buffalo Bills quarterback in franchise history.
Now, they’ll meet for the first time in the postseason as the Bills host the Ravens for an AFC divisional-round game on Saturday.
“I tell this to everybody I talk to about him, he is one of the greatest dudes you can be around, he really is. And then for him to kind of have the adversity of coming out the first year and people doubted him and to go out and explode on the scene last year and to just be this dynamic quarterback. I mean you see the impact that he makes in his communities on Instagram and stuff like that, he’s just one of those special guys that they’ve been having a lot of success, he’s been having a lot of success so far early in his career,” Josh Allen said on Tuesday.
Another thing they have in common is their respect for each other.
People are always just talking about Josh and his big arm, but he’s doing it all out there. He’s getting out of the pocket, taking advantage of what the defense gives him, throwing the ball on a rope. He’s slinging the ball like a Patrick Mahomes,” Lamar Jackson said to reporters on Tuesday.
“He’s helping his team out a lot. He’s one of the key reasons they’re putting up so many points and winning games. Hats off to Josh because he’s been doing it since his rookie season.”
Another knock on Jackson was that he couldn’t win the big game as he lost both playoff games he’s played in until last weekend when the Ravens beat the Titans on wild card weekend. Allen also just won his first career playoff game as the Bills held on to beat the Colts.
“I root heavily for him just knowing what he went through his first year and how he’s been able to do it and how humble and how awesome he is off the field. He’s just one of those guys you root for and it’s hard to not root for him when you’re playing against him but we’re enemies on Saturday and we both know that but he’s just one of those guys, again, I can’t say enough about just good of a dude he is that makes you love him that much more on the field,” Allen explained.