Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick — the two have been mentioned in the same breath ever since Jackson burst onto the scene in 2017 winning the Heisman trophy at the end of his sophomore season at Louisville.
The comparisons are obvious.
“Sources from multiple teams have compared Jackson to Vick from an on-the-field perspective. Both players are electric runners with strong arms capable of making devastating throws. Vick struggled with accuracy in many seasons during his NFL career, and Jackson has accuracy issues entering the league. Jackson receives solid marks for his intangibles, as opposed to Vick, who had awful character and horrible intangibles. Those issues led to Vick being a massive underachiever, and fortunately, Jackson does not have those problems.”
Let’s break down this quote and dig a little deeper into the comparison.
Electric is the right adjective to describe the running ability of these two transcending quarterbacks.
They are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, and Jackson just did it for the second time in his young career.
Lamar Jackson quietly led QBs in rushing yards again
He’s topped 1,000 rushing yards two seasons in a row – in NFL history only one other QB has ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season (Mike Vick, 2006)
— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) January 5, 2021
Vick averaged 7 yards per carry in his career compared to Jackson’s 6.
Maybe the stat that is the most telling of their dynamic running ability is that the two have combined to rush for 523 first downs in their careers (Vick 347, Jackson 176).
To put this into perspective, in 2019 Lamar Jackson rushed for a first down 71 times.
Mark Ingram, their starting running back, rushed for 53 first downs.
Both Jackson and Vick were capable of making big plays with their legs.
The scary part is that while the numbers support this, they don’t do it justice.
Lamar Jackson's Michael Vick moment… pic.twitter.com/la7Gw6j09X
— BOOGEY (@BOOGEYonline) November 10, 2019
Vick had a cannon, plain and simple.
His running ability was second to none when he came out of Virginia Tech, but his arm strength put him over the top.
Long-time scout Bucky Brooks described him as having “exceptional arm-strength”.
Michael Vick had the most ridiculous arm 🎯 pic.twitter.com/0z6DLiy4r5
— the Sports ON Tap (@thesportsontap) January 31, 2020
Jackson’s arm strength, while not on Vick’s level, is much stronger than many believe.
Campbell stated that Jackson’s arm headed into the draft was “so strong that he can make throws off platform that other quarterbacks can only make after having set their feet.”
Campbell was spot on with his analysis of Vick’s pro and Jackson’s college careers as neither ever completed more than 60% of their passes.
Jackson’s 57% completion percentage in college is just one percentage point higher than his predecessor’s 56% career completion percentage in the NFL.
This was the part of the comparison that likely scared teams away from Jackson.
Fortunately for him, he has since proved them wrong completing 64% of his passing attempts in his short career in the NFL.
Early in his career, Vick was not necessarily a model citizen, but let’s give credit where it is due.
He has since turned things around, owned up to his previous mistakes, and found success as an analyst in his post playing career.
Jackson is a born leader, and it can likely be inferred that the main reason the Ravens took a chance on the gifted QB was his work ethic.
He had some mechanical issues that he would need to iron out, but he proved in college that he was willing to put in the work and lead a franchise at a young age.
Jackson has mentioned several times that Vick was his idol as a young player and that he receives advice from him often.
Perhaps the veteran has told the talented 3rd year quarterback to learn from his mistakes.
Whatever the advice may be, it appears to be working.
"I appreciate everything you do for the game."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2019
We have heard the comparisons for quite some time, and they don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
Jackson’s goal now is to do something his idol never could: win a Super Bowl.