Is the Ravens QB Lamar Jackson an elite QB?
By: Reese Nasser
Lamar Jackson has terrorized defenses for three seasons now. He is an all-pro quarterback. A league MVP. And the leader of the Baltimore Ravens.
Since his entrance into the league in 2018 as the 32nd pick of the draft, Lamar has been a polarizing figure. He has proven that he can perform at the highest level. He has a career record of 30-7. In the regular season, he has thrown for 68 touchdowns and added another 19 on the ground.
Yet, even with all of these accomplishments, Lamar still doesn’t seem to be held to the same regard as other top quarterbacks. He has the resume to support his case. He has led the league in passing touchdowns. He has made the plays necessary to win games. He has found success with both his arm and his legs.
So is he a top-5 quarterback in today’s NFL? Let’s take a look at some of the top passers in the NFL and where Lamar stacks up against them.
#5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is quickly transforming into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He has taken control of Buffalo and is the leader of the future. He can make big plays, has an enormous arm, and can also make big plays in the run game.
Allen proved to be one of those players who was able to fully break out in his third season. He improved greatly as a passer and looked much more confident as a passer. Stat wise, he saw increases in nearly every category. He threw for 37 touchdowns, ran for eight, and added another one through receiving. His 46 touchdowns were smong the most in the NFL.
Even with throwing the ball more than 100 times than he did in 2019, Allen only added one more interception to his stat sheet. His biggest problem heading into 2020 was turnovers and his ability to contain that aspect of his game can’t be ignored.
Coming in at the five spot, Allen is in elite company. He is near the best at his position but still has room for improvement.
#4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar has proven time and time again that he is among the best at his position. When watching the Ravens play, he is their entire offense. He is able to impact both their passing and running game in a way that few players can.
His big play capability is elite and is a dynamic offensive piece. When looking at the roster that Baltimore has, you see that Lamar has not had a true number one receiver up to this point. His main target has been tight-end Mark Andrews. Even with a lack of receiving depth, Lamar has still led the NFL in passing touchdowns. He has played well consistently, which is more than most quarterbacks can say. Even with a subpar supporting cast, he has won 30 games in just 37 regular season starts.
With the addition of wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Tylan Wallace, and Rashod Bateman. Lamar could be headed back towards an MVP caliber season.
#3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson proved last season that he is still among the NFL’s elite. He led Seattle to a record of 12-4 and threw for 40 touchdowns. He also led the Seahawks on three game winning drives, as he has often throughout his career.
Even with apparent trade rumors that have been brought up when talking about Wilson, he will be a top-5 quarterback regardless of the team that he suits up for. His ability to win a game is unparalleled and his leadership is clear. Wilson is the guy in Seattle and he has been since he became QB1.
Last season showed a sense of resurgence for the veteran quarterback. His 40 touchdown passes were the most of his career. He did also throw 13 interceptions, which was also the most of his career.
This next season should be even better for Wilson. Wide receiver DK Metcalf is coming off of a season where he had over 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. The third year receiver will only be getting better as time goes on.
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett has shown no signs of slowing down. He will be entering year seven hoping to build off of what was the best season of his career in 2020.
Wilson will have a top-wide receiver duo to work with in 2021. He is leading an offense that can be prolific when it is running correctly. Wilson has proven to be a top quarterback in this league and that won’t change anytime soon.
#2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers will go down as an all-time great. Even at 37 years old, he is playing at the highest level of the game. His ability to stretch a play and take over a game is the stuff of legends.
His 48 pass touchdowns in the regular season were the most in football. Even while being in an offense that asks him to air the ball out, Rodgers threw just five interceptions.
Rodgers found success last season while also having one of the most inconsistent receiving groups in football. While Davante Adams is his WR1, nobody has stepped into the second spot. This has led to Rodgers looking for his tight end Robert Tonyan. The pair of Adams and Tonyan combined for 29 touchdowns. Adams also went for 1,374 receiving yards on 115 receptions.
Rodgers will look to have another explosive season in 2021, whether that be in Green Bay or somewhere else. Regardless of where he plays, elite quarterback play will be expected.
#1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes will be the number one quarterback in the NFL for the foreseeable future. Whenever he steps on the field, greatness is expected. He is able to do nearly anything he wants and is already one of the most prolific quarterbacks the game has ever seen.
Last season he threw for 38 touchdowns and 4,730 yards, finishing in the top four in both categories. Even with almost 600 pass attempts, Mahomes threw just six interceptions.
When looking for critiques in Mahomes’ game, they are hard to find. He is typically smart with the ball. It is the rare occasion where any of his outlandish plays turn into turnovers.
Through 54 career starts, Mahomes has 131 passing touchdowns to just 28 interceptions. He has also gotten another ten touchdowns with his legs.
Mahomes will be the league’s QB1 for the foreseeable future. His success up to this point is no mistake. Yes, he has one of the best assembled offensive units in football but he has proven to be the machine that makes the unit one. Not every quarterback would be able to do what he has done up to this point.
Opinions of Lamar Jackson are all over the place. Even with his success, he still receives the remarks of “he’s just a running back”. Lamar has and will continue to have all eyes on him. The only thing Lamar has struggled with up to this point is success in the postseason. While that should not play into how he ranks among quarterbacks, it most likely has. Once he makes a playoff run, his standings in the top-five will be cemented.