Lamar Jackson is quickly showing the NFL that he wasn’t a one-year fluke. After making waves last season as the Ravens’ quarterback, he’s even better heading into this season’s final stretch. Jackson’s ability to run and pass the ball has drawn comparisons to Michael Vick, who’s encouraged these conversations.
In a sports landscape where many of the talking heads are retired athletes who struggle to say a positive word about the current generation, Vick has no problems comparing Jackson to himself, even if it means saying the younger QB is better.
Michael Vick’s NFL career
Vick made a name for himself at Virginia Tech with the way he combined the speed of a running back with the arm of a quarterback. In only two years at Virginia Tech, Vick rushed for 1,299 yards and 17 touchdowns on top of 3,299 passing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Although his arm may not have always received NFL attention, Vick’s skill set made him an albatross worth the first overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons. The QB’s rushing would last the rest of his career, but his first six years in Atlanta — before his legal struggles halted his NFL career — were what made him a dominant force.
Vick spent much of his rookie season coming off the bench. But by his second season, he was the team’s full-time starter, rushing for nearly 800 yards and eight touchdowns.
In 2006, Vick rushed for 1,000 yards for the only time in his career (along with 2,474 passing yards). Several players have been compared to him since these days, but none as much as Jackson.
Lamar Jackson, the new Vick?
Jackson rushed for over 4,000 yards in three years at Louisville and an astronomical 50 touchdowns in the process. This was good enough to get him the Heisman trophy in 2016. It was also good enough to get Vick himself to state that Jackson was the superior player at that age.
Entering the NFL draft, however, Jackson was heading into an era where running quarterbacks weren’t thriving.
Despite being potentially better than Vick, Jackson fell to No. 32 in the draft. After starting in the ninth game of the season, Jackson let the Ravens know he was good enough to be their future quarterback, and Baltimore let its Super Bowl quarterback go.
Jackson had a 6-1 record and threw for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns. Furthermore, he rushed for nearly 700 yards and five touchdowns. This year, Jackson continues his domination despite many believing the NFL was past rushing quarterbacks.
Through 10 games, he has nearly 800 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on top of 2,258 passing yards for 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. Jackson proves he can be a running quarterback with an arm, and the NFL cannot figure him out.
What comes next for Lamar Jackson?
Jackson is statistically better than Vick at nearly any time in his career. SBNation broke it down, stating that while Jackson can rush with Vick, his power also lies in a better passing game. We could debate about the era the Ravens QB plays in, but the 22-year-old is playing better than prime Vick.
To Vick’s credit, he seems honored to see Jackson thriving in his mold. If Jackson keeps progressing, he may unseat Vick as the greatest running quarterback of all time. In the end, however, we still acknowledge that while Jackson may have Vick beat, Vick laid the blueprint for other quarterbacks like him.