Lamar Jackson was the NFL Top 100's No. 1 player, and (sorry Mahomes) it's not that crazy

So much was made of Patrick Mahomes being No. 4 on the NFL Networks “Top 100 Players of 2020” list that not enough was made of Lamar Jackson getting the No. 1 spot.

Mahomes being at No. 4 was egregiously bad. But Jackson at No. 1 wasn’t a mistake.

The NFL’s annual top 100 list is always baffling, in part because there’s no true criteria. It’s just the top 100 players in the NFL today. That’s fairly ambiguous.

But it’s not wrong to have Jackson ahead of Mahomes.

Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson both are superstars

If you were choosing a quarterback to build a franchise around, Mahomes would top the list. Presumably, Jackson’s career will be shorter because he’s used so heavily as a runner. But if we’re picking a top 100 list based on what we saw last season, Jackson is a fine pick.

9 PHOTOS
Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
See Gallery
Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Lamar Jackson of Louisville poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #32 overall by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled as he carries the ball by free safety Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after their 26-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 2: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is interviewed after the game against the Atlanta Falcons by Tracy Wolfson as ZaDarius Smith #90 joins in at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 06: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens stiff arms free safety Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Willie Snead #83 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Lamar Jackson #8 after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens shakes hands with a young fan prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 29: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on after a play against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

We forget quickly, especially when playoff losses are involved. Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens lost their first playoff game, even though Jackson threw for 365 yards and ran for 143 more. Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years, and won Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes owned the offseason as a result.

[Create or join a 2020 Yahoo Fantasy Football League for free today]

Mahomes’ playoff magic sticks in our minds but Jackson was phenomenal in the regular season. He was the unanimous NFL MVP and it was well deserved. The Ravens’ loss in the playoffs doesn’t change that Jackson had a historic season. Yet, in the rush to laugh at the NFL Network’s list for putting Mahomes fourth, the common theme on social media was that Jackson had no business being ahead of Mahomes. Stop it.

It would have been fine to vote Mahomes first. He’s undeniably great. But let’s not act like there should be any problem with Jackson taking the top spot. He was the best player in football throughout last season. That’s why he was the unanimous MVP selection.

Jackson is still a bit under-appreciated

It’s still hard for some people to fully appreciate Jackson because he’s different than the norm.

For decades, quarterbacks were measured only by their ability to throw from the pocket. Running was considered a weakness. Then the game changed. The NFL has finally embraced the fact that an elite dual-threat quarterback is just about impossible to stop in the right scheme. Mahomes is a better thrower than Jackson; he might be one of the greatest pure passers ever. But Jackson is the best running quarterback ever (yes, already), and he just led the NFL in touchdown passes. That combination is as unbelievable as any no-look throw from Mahomes.

In the rush to anoint Mahomes — again, he’s great, nobody would argue otherwise aside from whichever haters had him No. 4 or lower on their top 100 ballot — it needs to be said that Jackson is great too. They’re just much different players, and superb in their own ways. And Jackson deserved the No. 1 spot on that list.

Mahomes vs. Jackson should be a fantastic rivalry in the AFC for a while. Hopefully they can settle it in the playoffs this season.

More from Yahoo Sports:

Read Full Story

From Our Partners