Why Lamar Jackson may be better than Baker Mayfield after all
Lamar Jackson vs. Baker Mayfield is getting very interesting. Mayfield had been anointed as the next big thing at the quarterback position. Lamar Jackson may end up as the better quarterback when it’s all said and done:
Baker Mayfield came into the 2019 season as a more accomplished passer than Lamar Jackson. Mayfield had 3,275 yards passing and 27 touchdowns last season. Those are big time numbers for a rookie quarterback and Mayfield obviously has more potential than any Browns’ quarterback since the NFL came back to Cleveland. Mayfield has a chance to have a great career, however Lamar Jackson may end up being the better player.
Mayfield started at a higher point as an overall quarterback. He was pro-ready in a way that most quarterback aren’t. Jackson was a major work in progress when he came into the NFL. Jackson had an incredible amount of talent but his ability to impact the game with his arm was limited in 2018. He made clutch throws and showed that he had the chops to be an NFL quarterback yet he only had one game over 200 yards passing in 2018.
The conversation starter about these quarterbacks couldn’t have been more different this offseason. The Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. to their offense. Mayfield was supposed to make the Browns one of the most dynamic offenses in the league.
Pundits spent the offseason debating how good Lamar Jackson would be. Jackson came into this season having to prove that he was really the franchise quarterback the Ravens were asking him to be. Jackson spent the offseason fielding questions about how many rushing attempts he would have and whether or not his playing style was sustainable in the NFL. The narrative (even with his believers) was that Jackson was behind Mayfield at the quarterback position.
2019 is making this a very interesting topic of discussion. Jackson has blown people away with his progress as a passer. Through three games he has 863 yards and seven touchdowns as a passer. Mayfield and the Browns are struggling and are 1-2. The Ravens are 2-1 and they just gave the Kansas City Chiefs a run for their money. The debate over who is the better quarterback between Jackson and Mayfield is interesting.
What 2019 production tells us about this debate:
Through three games, Jackson is putting up numbers that Ravens fans should feel great about. He has completed 63 percent of his passes. He hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble and he has seven touchdowns. On top of that he has 172 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Jackson is averaging 287 yards passing per game. After the playoff loss to the Chargers, if somebody told you these would be his numbers early into 2019, you’d have to be excited. The Ravens still have the number one offense in the NFL and the passing attack is ranked 7th.
The key element here isn’t that Jackson has shown some progress. It’s that he has shown this much progress already. The command that he has of this offense and the confidence that he has in his arm is dramatically different than it was last season. It looks like Jackson has had the game slow down for him and he’s doing some very impressive things. He’s throwing off defensive backs with his eyes. He’s finding receivers on third downs and he’s consistently making the right reads.
In the same three week span, Mayfield has completed just 56.5 of his passes. He has 805 yards and three touchdowns however he has five interceptions. Mayfield has struggled so far this season.
While Jackson is making huge strides, Mayfield is producing at a lesser rate than he did in 2018. In truth, both quarterbacks are still developing and are in the very early stages of their respective careers. However Jackson has shown incredible growth in a very short amount of time. Jackson will take some bumps in the road, but if he continues to improve at this rate his ceiling could be much higher than Mayfield’s.