HELMETS OFF

Opinion: Lamar Jackson In Battle With Mahomes For Top NFL QB

Nov 5, 2019, 2:33 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a first quarter touchdown against the N...
Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a first quarter touchdown against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on November 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As good as Patrick Mahomes is, Lamar Jackson might end up being better.

Mahomes descended on the NFL a year ago in a dominant manner that hasn’t been seen before. His uncanny ability to throw the football in tight places with accuracy and velocity is unmatched.

I marveled at what Mahomes did last year. I thought he was a once in a generation player, someone that would revolutionize football moving forward, similar to a Lawrence Taylor.

He’s that good.

I saw something this past week that didn’t change my mind about Mahomes (I still think he’s really good), but it certainly gave him a potential equal and maybe beyond.

Lamar Jackson is freaky good.

It kills me to say that. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. Dual-threat guys run the daylights out of the ball early in their careers and end up beat up, then they try to become traditional quarterbacks and can’t make the throws NFL defenses force you to make.

This is why Colin Kaepernick is not in the NFL. He couldn’t become a pocket passer. Running quarterbacks are not a long term solution in my book. I want a guy that will stand in the pocket and throw the ball.

So, why am I big on Jackson?

He throws the ball better than Michael Vick ever did already in his career, and he might be a better runner. Vick was the shiny new object back in the day but he could never throw the ball consistently to be more than a flash in the pan.

This will only get better in time. Jackon is not a quarterback project throwing the ball, like a Tim Tebow. He actually prefers to throw the ball from the pocket as opposed to running. He’s learning how to throw first and it’s working brilliantly.

The best part is that Jackson runs by design. He’s not running because he doesn’t know what to do. Plus, he’s a better runner than any of the Raven’s running backs.

A dual-threat that is equally explosive running and passing puts so much pressure on good NFL defenses – it will make the Ravens hard to beat.

It’s a style that works at home or away and in good or bad conditions.

I understand traditional NFL minds are slow to anoint the next superstar. You really have to prove yourself over a long period of time before you are anointed king. It took Tom Brady winning five Super Bowls before I would ever consider him better than Joe Montana. I was skeptical of Brady for years.

So, to be this bullish on Jackson might seem premature. In the past, I would agree, but Jackson is doing things that I just haven’t seen – even from Mahomes.

If you enjoyed this analysis check out my  podcast, Helmets Off, wherever you find podcasts or on the KSL Sports app. Listen to a full conversation about this week’s NFL storylines below.

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