Just this past week, Baltimore Ravens fans were all over me for a Kyler Murray vs Lamar Jackson comparison article (link below). In it, I took Kyler Murray and still decided to post the article to the r/Ravens subreddit on Reddit. Maybe I was asking for it?
Either way, I felt I owed it to Ravens fans (especially Reddit Ravens fans) and NFL fans as a whole to offer up my apologies by digging into another debate. Still revolving around Jackson, an unquestionable top 10 quarterback in the league, and quite possibly, one of the greatest dual-threat quarterbacks in history?
This topic was brought up to me during an Instagram live with my good friend TJ Hayes (@thestallionsportsnetwork). During which he said he and one of his co-hosts already believe Jackson is THE GREATEST dual-threat quarterback of all-time. I did not want to go that far with this article, but I definitely wanted to dig into it.
Is Lamar Jackson the greatest dual-threat QB of all-time?
— Rav (@anthonyravasio) August 3, 2022
When you think of dual-threat quarterbacks, who immediately comes to mind? I like to think of more current or recent players first, like Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, or Kyler Murray. Even a little older like Michael Vick, the ultimate cheat code, or Cam Newton. You go a little older than Vick and you start to think of quarterbacks like Randal Cunningham, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, and other great quarterbacks who brought the arm AND the legs to the position.
So, let’s dive into it.
5- Lamar Jackson
Yes, Lamar Jackson could already be one of the greatest dual-threat quarterbacks of all-time. In just four years into the league, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback has a unanimous MVP to his name, two Pro-Bowls, multiple Player of the Year Awards, a First-Team All-Pro, and holds the distinction of number one in the 2020 NFL Top 100, which is voted by the players. Jackson put up video game numbers in his MVP season and led the Ravens to a 14-2 record. Overall, he owns a 37-12 career record, an 84-31 touchdown-interception ratio, and over 3,600 career rushing yards (two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, first player since Vick to do so).
4- Russell Wilson
Wilson has run for 4,506 yards in his career and owns an impressive 104-53-1 career record. That is 31.3 rushing yards per game and 5.6 rushing yards per attempt. He ranks fourth all-time in career rushing yards and fifth all-time in career rushing yards per game among all quarterbacks. A nine-time Pro-Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, his longevity is what puts Wilson ahead of players like Jackson, Cunningham, Newton, and others for me. Throwing for over 36,000 yards is certainly also a plus. An elusive MVP award and First-Team honor are still two awards that Wilson aims to achieve.
3- Fran Tarkenton
Tarkenton was the first real “dual-threat” quarterback in an era where running with the football was harder than ever. Tarkenton’s rushing numbers are unreal for a player in the 1960s and 1970s, going for 3,674 yards, which is sixth all-time among quarterbacks. He ran for an average of 5.4 yards per carry and had 32 rushing touchdowns long before anyone was running zone-read plays and other playsets where tucking it and running was acceptable. He put up these numbers on just scrambles and quarterback draws alone. He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and was named an All-Pro and league MVP once. Tarkenton led the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls but lost all three times.
2- Steve Young
A seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, two-time MVP, two-time Super Bowl champion, an Offensive Player of the Year, and a Super Bowl MVP. Steve Young made the transition from Joe Montana as easy as can be for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s and 1990s, being one of the best do-it-all quarterbacks ever. Young ran for 4,239 yards (fifth all-time) and 43 touchdowns (second all-time). He averaged 25.1 yards per game and 5.9 yards per attempt. Young also threw for 33,124 yards and 232 touchdowns.
1- Michael Vick
Michael Vick has nowhere near the resume, career accolades, or career statistics that any of these quarterbacks have. But, he changed the game forever with his elusiveness, speed, and playmaking ability that he brought to the quarterback position in the 2000s. A four-time Pro-Bowler, Vick became the first quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards or more in a single season. Vick ran for 6,109 yards (first all-time) and 36 touchdowns (fifth all-time) in his career. He also averaged 42.7 yards per game (second all-time) and 7.0 yards per carry (first all-time). Vick also had a rocket for an arm and threw for over 3,000 yards in a season twice in his career. Guys that I mentioned above like Josh Allen, Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and countless others can thank Vick for the playstyles they have. He is the reason mobility is a huge factor in quarterback play now.
Anthony Ravasio is a writer for TWSN and a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He also works with Overtime doing digital content creation and more writing. In his downtime, you can find Anthony watching sports, enjoying his time with friends or family, or tracking his bets on Action (or all three at once). You can find TWSN on Twitter @TWSN___ and Instagram @twsn___. You can find Anthony on Twitter @anthonyravasio or Instagram @ravasiosports as well.