When most people are talking about the NFL MVP conversation, usually Christian McCaffrey comes up as the first name that should be considered for the award. I think that McCaffrey is having an amazing season, but Lamar Jackson’s seems more impressive. But to better understand the context of his talent, let’s take a quick blast to the past back to the 2018 NFL Draft.
Now, the 2018 Draft was full of star-studded college talent in the quarterback position — including players like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson. All five of these players were drafted in the first round. But after watching these players from last season until now, one might think that Lamar Jackson was picked first because of his talent and athleticism, right? Nope; he was actually picked 32nd, last pick of the round (now think about the player that your favorite team drafted instead of Jackson, was it worth it?).
Lamar Jackson was Joe Flacco’s backup until Joe was injured and declared out indefinitely for multiple games with a hip injury. On November 18, 2018, Lamar’s first career start, Lamar made his case that he could carry the Ravens to victory no problem — resulting in a big division win against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then the Ravens have stuck to him, which is not a bad idea because his athleticism and skill are a one-of-a-kind combination in the league.
Fast forward to this season. Jackson was expected to be pretty good, and since then he has exceeded sports fans’ craziest expectations.
Just two weeks ago, the Ravens played the 8-0 Patriots and Lamar Jackson helped hand New England their first loss of the season. In that game, he was 17/23 for 163 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions! His passer rating was a clean 107.7 and he was on fire!
Today was a bit different…
Not only did Lamar go 15/17 for 223 yards and 3 touchdown passes for 223 yards. Not only is he a good passer, but he is also runner. In the same game today, he ran for a 57-yard touchdown. And he was pulled at the end of the third quarter! I can’t say that I have ever witnessed anything like him before, even in players with a build similar to another quarterback known for his rushing potential, Michael Vick.
He also made Ravens history today during his game by reaching a 158.3 perfect passing record — the only other player in the league to do this twice in a season was Ben Roethlishberger. Today was when I began to wonder: Could Lamar Jackson was up winning the NFL MVP award for this year?
Since there are still six weeks of football left, time will decide who the true MVP is — whether it is the crazy fast and athletic running back Christian McCaffrey from Carolina, or if it is the unstoppable force of quarterback Lamar Jackson from Baltimore.
By Office of the Maryland Governor on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdgovpics/31015688557, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76049205