Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson have game-changing speed, but quarterbacks at the NFL level have to beat defenses from the pocket to become stars.
They are both off to a very encouraging start.
Among the eight quarterbacks taken in the first round of the past two drafts, the dual-threat duo sits atop the list for best passer rating. Jackson is No. 1 at 89.9, followed by Murray at 86.8.
It is still early, so the six more traditional pocket passers – Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins – could certainly make a move as their careers progress, but there is no denying the star qualities both Jackson and Murray exhibit.
Jackson doesn’t throw the ball a ton but is completing 61 percent of his passes at 7.41 yards per attempt and has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (17-8) among the octet.
Murray has the best completion percentage and lowest interception rate in the group, as well as the third-best yards per attempt at 6.83.
When the rushing numbers are factored in, Jackson and Murray are even further ahead of their peers. Jackson leads the NFL with 6.9 yards per carry and is sixth with 576 rushing yards. He is rated sixth in ESPN’s Total QBR this season, which factors in running ability.
Murray is eighth in the NFL at 5.4 yards per carry and is 14th in Total QBR. Jones is the closest to them at No. 18 in Total QBR, while Mayfield, Darnold, Allen and Rosen are all 25th or below.
The passing game is king in the NFL, and so far, Jackson and Murray are proving they can beat teams through the air as well as on the ground.