Lamar Jackson has been a legitimate MVP candidate in 2021

Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens have seen a different version of Lamar Jackson in 2021. Following a somewhat down 2020 season (at least compared to his 2019 campaign), Jackson has returned this year and looks better than ever.

Or at least just as dynamic as he was during his 2019 MVP season.

Jackson has made significant strides as a passer and is on pace to smash his career highs in virtually every passing statistic. And it’s not as if he’s any less explosive on the ground either.

We might very well be seeing the best version of Lamar Jackson yet in 2021. And despite a relative lack of national fanfare at the moment, he deserves to be in the MVP conversation through the first four weeks of the season.

The Ravens have a legitimate MVP candidate in Lamar Jackson

Jackson currently ranks first in the NFL in yards per completion (14.4) and third in the league in yards per carry (6.6). Not just third among quarterbacks — third among all players.

On top of that, he’s 12th in total passing yards, fifth in yards per passing attempt, and ninth out of all players in total rushing yards. He’s been a one-man show for the Ravens, and the strides he’s made as a passer have taken the offense to another level.

Jackson is on pace for 4,577 passing yards and1,186 rushing yards through four weeks. His previous career highs in each category are 3,127 passing yards and 1,206 rushing yards — both of which came during his 2019 MVP campaign.

The 24-year-old is well on his way to surpassing his career-high in passing yards by nearly 1,500 yards and is keeping pace with his career-high in rushing yards.

Those are MVP-caliber numbers. And if he keeps up that pace, he’ll have to enter the MVP conversation before long.

Right now, however, he’s being overlooked. The latest MVP odds, courtesy of WynnBet, have Jackson ranked ninth (+2000) behind players like Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Matthew Stafford.

Jackson has arguably been more important to his team than any of those three players this season. In fact, you could count on one hand the number of players in the league that are more integral to their team’s success than Jackson is to the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson is the Baltimore Ravens. Their success is entirely predicated on his availability and performance.

With the team’s running game struggling in recent weeks, Jackson has carried the offense with his arm. He’s proving that this Ravens offense isn’t as one-dimensional as many believed it to be.

Next. Ravens: Lamar Jackson has made significant strides as a passer. dark

That’s on him. He’s the catalyst. And if he continues to perform at this level, he’ll force his way into the MVP race.

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