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Ranking the NFL's best dual-threat quarterbacks

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

September 28th, 2020

The mobile quarterback has supplanted the pocket passer as the most coveted piece in today’s NFL offense.

With these running QBs off to an electrifying start in 2020, let’s rank the top five dual-threat quarterbacks in the league.

5. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year is not just a dual-threat quarterback. Murray is a dual-threat athlete.

In 2019, the Heisman winner became the only player to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft and NFL Draft. The Arizona Cardinals picked him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, a year after the Oakland A’s drafted him ninth overall.

Murray chose to forgo baseball, for now, and kicked off his pro football career with an impressive stat line in 2019.

He started all 16 games for the Cardinals (a franchise record for a rookie) and completed 64.4% of his passes for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also rushed for 544 yards on 93 carries (5.8 yards per carry) and four scores.

Through three games, the Cardinals are 2-1, behind Murray's 973 combined yards and eight total touchdowns.

4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

The two-time Pro Bowler is off to a rocky start in 2020, especially after the departure of his longtime favorite target DeAndre Hopkins. However, his body of work, since his pro debut in 2017, still makes him a top-five dual-threat QB.

Before an ACL tear cut his rookie year short, Watson enjoyed a historic season through just seven games. He became the first player to pass for more than 400 yards, throw at least four touchdown passes, and rush for 50 yards in a single game (Week 8 of 2017).

By his third year, he was the fastest player to reach 6,500 passing yards and 500 rushing (through 26 games). One game later, he became the fastest player to compile 50 touchdown passes and 10 rushing scores.

Watson has averaged 8.1 yards per pass and 5.6 yards per carry in his career. He is tied with Steve Young for the most games (three) with at least 375 passing yards and 40 rushing yards.

3. Russel Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

The seven-time Pro Bowler is the 2020 MVP frontrunner for good reason.

Through a 3-0 start, Wilson has completed 76.7% of his passes for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns (a league high) and has an NFL-best passer rating of 139.

On the ground, he has averaged 6.4 yards per attempt this season, and 5.6 on 734 carries in his career.

He is the only NFL quarterback to record at least 4,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, and 500 rushing yards in the same season (2015). In 2014, he also became the first player to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 in one game.

Since Wilson’s Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2014, the team’s once-otherworldly defense has turned into one of Seattle's greatest weaknesses. Despite that, Wilson’s brilliance as a passer and runner has carried Seattle to an 89-41-1 record in the regular season since 2012.

The QB is also 9-6 in the playoffs and has missed the postseason just once in his career (2017).

2. Cam Newton, New England Patriots

Newton may not be as accurate as Wilson, but the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder can gash defenses and break tackles like no other quarterback.  

In 2011, Newton earned his first Pro Bowl nomination, after he set the record for most combined touchdowns (35) and most combined yards (4,784) by a rookie. He also became the first and only rookie to pass for at least 4,000 yards and rush for more than 700.

In 2015, the year of his MVP campaign, Newton led the Panthers to a 15-1 record, as he threw for 3,857 yards and 35 touchdowns. As a runner, he amassed 636 yards and scored 10 more times.

Injuries limited the 31-year-old from 2017-2019 and ultimately forced Carolina to cut ties.

However, since he accepted the starting job in New England, Newton has looked like his former self and sparked life into an offense many wrote off with the departure of Tom Brady.

Newton has rushed for 149 yards and four scores this season, which bumped his total to 62 — the most rushing touchdowns of any quarterback in NFL history.

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens      

“Video game numbers” became the go-to phrase to describe Jackson’s play in 2019.

The second-year Ravens star shattered record upon record, including Michael Vick's single-season rushing mark by a quarterback.

Ahead of the 2019 season, head coach John Harbaugh revamped the Ravens' offense to accommodate Jackson's unique skill set. The undertaking paid off in the form of a league-best 14-2 record, and Jackson became only the second player to earn league MVP by unanimous vote.

The former Heisman winner is the first player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in one NFL season. He also recorded a perfect passer rating in two games in 2019, which tied Ben Roethlisberger for the most in one season.

In 2020, Jackson has rushed for 99 yards on 23 carries and has appeared even sharper as a passer (77.6% completion percentage). If he continues at his current pace, he'll not only remain the best dual-threat quarterback, but go down as one of the best to ever play the position.


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