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Cameron Heyward Doesn’t Understand How Lamar Jackson Was Left Out Of ESPN’s Top 10 QBs: ‘The List Makes No Sense To Me’

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson became the youngest, and second-ever unanimous, league MVP just a couple seasons ago in 2019. Entering the 2022 season, at least according to ESPN, he isn’t even a top 10 player at his position, after his team finished under .500, last in the AFC North, and missed the playoffs.

In an article posted a couple of weeks back, the sports outlet polled dozens executives, scouts, coaches, and players to put together top-10 lists for every position, and Jackson didn’t make the cut, with Dak Prescott being number 10, Deshaun Watson 9, and Russell Wilson 8. He was, however, an honorable mention, but still, many were incredulous regarding his exclusion, including Pittsburgh Steelers rival Cameron Heyward.

How the heck is he not a top 10 player? This guy just won an MVP two years ago”, he recently said during the second episode of Not Just Football, his new podcast. “I have the utmost respect for a guy like Lamar. Is he a prototypical quarterback? No, but who’s to say quarterbacks have to play a certain way?”

“He’s a younger guy that’s gonna continue to develop and be one of the greats in our league”, he added. “I just think he is a top quarterback in our league. For everybody to just put him down because he got hurt last year seems a little irrational, and the list makes no sense to me”.

While the Ravens went 8-9 last season, Jackson did go 7-4 in the games that he started and finished. He missed one game due to COVID-19 and then missed the final four games of the season, plus all but the first 10 snaps of the game before that, due to a serious foot injury. They were 8-3 with six games left to play.

“When we play Lamar, you’ve got to make sure everybody’s accountable. There’s always got to be a spy, and so when you do that, you can’t have anybody in the back end, you’re taking somebody out there”, Heyward said about the intricacies of playing against Jackson, the greatest dual-threat quarterback the league has seen. “I don’t know a lot of quarterbacks that can do that. This list just seems incomplete if you don’t have Lamar on your top 10”.

While some of it has to do with his own game, and, arguably, his limitations, Jackson has also largely worked without a robust receiving corps outside of Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews. The team is hoping that 2021 first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman can be the guy who changes that.

“Lamar has really done a lot with not so much, and I think we don’t give him enough of a pass for what he’s done”, Heyward said of Jackson entering his fifth season and due for a new contract, on which topic he added, “I hope they pay Lamar as soon as possible, and I want it all guaranteed”.

Jackson has a 37-12 record as a starter in the NFL. He has thrown for just under 10,000 yards with 84 touchdown passes, and has also run for 3,673 yards with 21 touchdowns. While he does have 37 fumbles, he only has 31 interceptions, and averages 7.5 yards per pass attempt (and 6.0 yards per rushing attempt) during his career.

He was averaging career-highs of nearly 32 pass attempts per game in 2021 prior to his injury, with over 240 passing yards per game, though he was also taking nearly twice as many sacks as he was used to. He also had four fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives, more than he had in his first three seasons combined in the case of the former, and the exact equal in the case of the latter.

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