Evaluating Lamar Jackson’s case as an MVP candidate

Andrew Gillis
NBC Sports Washington

The entire NFL saw on Sunday what the Ravens had seen all season long - Lamar Jackson has been nearly impossible to slow down for 60 minutes this season. 

And after the Ravens final touchdown of the night, Ravens fans chanted "MVP" for the second year quarterback. 

But are they right to do so?

Jackson, through eight games, is currently on a 16-game pace to throw for 3,626 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and have a completion percentage of 64.3 percent. He's also on pace to rush for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

That rushing total would break Mike Vick's NFL record of 1,039 yards, the only 1,000-yard rushing season for a quarterback in NFL history. Vick threw for 2,374 yards and had 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions that season. 

The MVP in that 2006 season was Ladanian Tomlinson, who ran for 1,815 yards and had 31 combined touchdowns.

Through the first half of this season, Jackson is on-pace to produce one of, if not the best seasons a mobile quarterback has ever put forth. He's currently on pace for 4,900 yards and 34 touchdowns from scrimmage.  

The league has taken note, as Jackson has sky-rocketed up the MVP ballot list. 

While Jackson's stock is currently rising in the NFL, he's still got some giants to topple in the race.

Presumed MVP favorite, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, is currently on a 16-game pace for 4,453 yards passing, 39 passing touchdowns and just two interceptions. He's also on-track to run for just over 360 yards, meaning he's on-pace for 4,813 scrimmage yards. Wilson also has a 68.3 completion percentage, too.

Aaron Rodgers, another frontrunner, is completing 65.4 percent of his passes and is on-pace to throw for 4,417 yards and 30 touchdowns with three interceptions. Rodgers isn't a runner like Wilson and Jackson and is on-pace for 181 rushing yards. Meaning, he's on-track for 4,600 yards from scrimmage. 

Finally, Deshaun Watson is on-pace for 4,323 yards, 32 touchdowns and almost nine interceptions this season. He's got a completion percentage of 70.2 and is on-pace for 186 yards rushing and nearly nine rushing touchdowns. Meaning, he's on a 16-game pace for just over 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. 

Patrick Mahomes is the true wild card in the MVP race, as he has missed the last two games for Chiefs, who have gone 1-1 in his absence. 

Through seven games, he threw for 2,180 yards, had a completion percentage of 65.1 percent and had 15 touchdowns and just one interception. That's a 16-game pace of 4,982 yards, 34 touchdowns and two interceptions. His 16-game pace for rushing yards would've put him at 5,169 yards from scrimmage. 

The longer he sits out with a dislocated knee, however, the less likely his MVP candidacy becomes. Should he return quickly, though, he would enter himself right back into the race. 

And fair or unfair, there has been just one MVP that wasn't a quarterback since Tomlinson's historic 2006 season - Adrian Peterson in 2012, when he rushed for over 2,000 yards - so it's probably to exclude Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook from this conversation. 

So while it's fair to include Jackson in the MVP conversation right now, it's still premature to consider him a favorite, or potentially even in the top-two, of candidates. He's currently on-pace for the most scrimmage yards of anyone in the league, but Wilson's touchdown numbers and Mahomes' pace might be too difficult to pass up for voters.

Jackson has been remarkable this season for the Ravens, but he's not quite at the MVP level just yet. That's not to say, however, that he isn't playing at one.

This article has been updated to reflect Lamar Jackson's correct 16-game pace.


Evaluating Lamar Jacksons case as an MVP candidate originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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