Apparently winning NFL MVP, ranking No. 1 in the NFL’s Top 100 list and earning a spot on the cover of Madden still isn’t enough for experts around the league to believe Lamar Jackson is the best quarterback.
In Pro Football Focus’ most valuable player rankings of 2019, the Ravens’ quarterback was slotted fifth overall behind four other quarterbacks. Even after winning the league’s MVP award during the 2019 season, Jackson was selected behind Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers in PFF’s WAR rankings.
The WAR model stands for ‘wins above replacement,’ which factors in how well the player performed, what the player did, how important those tasks were to winning games, and how often the player did the various things he did.
According to PFF, the model follows a series of five steps to calculate a player’s score:
- Determine how good a given player was during a period of time (generally a season) using PFF grades.
- Map a player’s production to a “wins” value for his team using the relative importance of each facet of play.
- Simulate a team’s expected performance with a player of interest and with an average player participating identically in his place. Take the difference in expected wins (e.g., Wins Above Average).
- Determine the average player with a given participation profile’s wins above replacement player, assuming a team of replacement-level players is a 3-13 team.
- Add the terms in the last two calculations to get that player’s WAR.
Based on these calculations, PFF claims a quarterback should always be the MVP, which accounts for the list it released on Thursday. However, many would challenge which quarterbacks deserved a spot in the top five.
Jackson led the league in 2019 with an 81.8 quarterback rating. Mahomes was a close second. Prescott and Wilson ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. However, Rodgers finished down the list at 20th.
In the NFL’s Top 100 list released at the end of July, Jackson was rated the No. 1 player in the entire league. Russell Wilson came in second. Mahomes was an underrated fourth. But Rodgers and Prescott ranked 16th and 46th, respectively.
This is far from the first time Jackson was placed lower than expected in an individual player ranking. In early July, both Stephen A. Smith and ESPN left Lamar Jackson out of their top four quarterbacks. In June, Chris Simms ranked him fifth in his quarterback rankings.
Ultimately, while Jackson hasn’t received the complete respect he deserves around the league, he has racked up a number of impressive honors and records and will continue his search for more this fall.
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