Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was chosen in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, a few hours after the Bills chose quarterback Josh Allen. The two of them meet in a divisional playoff game on Saturday, and fans of both teams can celebrate that they have their franchise quarterbacks in place.
But while Jackson and Allen have had plenty of success with their arms, what really makes them unique is their success with their legs.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Jackson and Allen are first and second in the NFL in rushing among quarterbacks. Jackson is easily first, with 2,906 rushing yards. Allen is second with 1,562 rushing yards.
Jackson is in a class by himself as a runner at the quarterback position: Jackson’s 2,906 rushing yards are by far the most for a quarterback in his first three seasons in NFL history. Cam Newton, who gained 2,032 rushing yards in his first three seasons, is a distant second. Russell Wilson, who ran for 1,877 yards in his first three seasons, is third. Allen is fourth in NFL history for rushing yards by a quarterback in his first three seasons.
There was a time when NFL teams looked for a prototypical pocket passer in the first round of the draft. Jackson and Allen represent a change in philosophy, as teams increasingly find success with quarterbacks who can both pass and run.