In just his second NFL season, and at just 23 years old, Lamar Jackson took home the NFL MVP award after a stunning 2019 campaign. His peers have backed up that award, voting him as the No. 1 player in the league in the latest edition of the NFL Top 100.
Jackson, who did not make the 2019 list, becomes the youngest player ever to occupy the No. 1 spot on the annual ranking. He supplants Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who comes in at No. 3 this year.
Few have ever played the way at the NFL level the way that Jackson does. The Baltimore Ravens restructured their entire offense to fit his incredible athletic gifts, no easy feat considering he replaced Joe Flacco during the 2018 season. The two are about as different stylistically as any two quarterbacks could be.
Jackson completed 66.1-percent of his throws for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns, and six interceptions, and ran for another 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns. From a fantasy football perspective, it was like having a very productive quarterback and running back rolled into one. On the actual gridiron, he led the Baltimore Ravens to a 13-2 record before sitting out Week 17. Last night, after the rankings came in, Jackson responded to the honor on Twitter.
I’m Honored & blessed… but you know itz still a lot of work for me to do.
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) July 30, 2020
This year’s NFL Top 100 ranking doesn’t come without some significant controversy. For the second straight year, despite winning the 2018 MVP Award, the 2019 Super Bowl, and landing a record contract, Patrick Mahomes is ranked at No. 4. Most other circles would probably have him as the clear No. 1, especially given the importance of the quarterback position. This year’s list also has Russell Wilson ahead of Mahomes, at No. 2.
In any order, Jackson, Mahomes, and Wilson are pretty clearly the top tier of quarterback in the NFL at this point. Drew Brees is the next quarterback to pop up at No. 12, with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Deshaun Watson all ranked between there and No. 20.
We’ll see if NFL defenses come up with some answers for Lamar Jackson in 2020. With his elite 4.3 speed, it may be tough to defend him as a runner even with good scheme and discipline, and he has made great improvements as a passer every single year since he broke onto the national scene at Louisville.