5 Best Dual-Threat Quarterbacks in NFL History

Rushing/passing threats are always special, regardless of the era

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had the best dual-threat quarterback season of all time (and one of the best for his position period), rushing for 1,206 yards and throwing for 3,127 yards. It was little surprise that he was the unanimous choice for NFL MVP. He hasn't gotten over the hump in the postseason just yet (0-2), but Jackson's record-setting season has helped usher in the era of the dual-threat quarterbacks.


While there are more in today's game, a quarterback who is a threat with both his arm and his feet is truly special and has been wowing fans well before Jackson arrived on the scene. Here are the five dual-threat quarterbacks who have captivated us the most and who Jackson will likely soon be surpassing.


5. Cam Newton*

Career: Nine seasons (2011-present)

Passing: 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns

Rushing: 4,806 yards, 58 touchdowns

With his unique combination of size, speed, and accuracy, Newton is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to ever play the game and his 2015 season is one of the best in NFL history. He played in just two games for Carolina this past season because of a foot injury and the team released him in late March. In late June, Newton agreed to terms on a one-year deal with New England, meaning he could end up being Tom Brady's replacement. Just 31, Newton still has plenty of time to climb this list, provided his body holds up.


4. Randall Cunningham

Career: 16 seasons (1985-95, '97-2001)

Passing: 29,979 yards, 207 touchdowns

Rushing: 4,928 yards, 35 touchdowns

Every player on this list is/was exciting to watch, but Cunningham was a true human highlight reel, especially during his formative years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Take a look.



3. Steve Young

Career: 15 seasons (1985-99)

Passing: 33,124 yards, 232 touchdowns

Rushing: 4,239 yards, 43 touchdowns

Young is currently the only quarterback with more than 30,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing and he completed 64 percent of his passes during his career. He also is the fourth-leading rushing quarterback in NFL history, averaging nearly six yards a carry.


2. Fran Tarkenton

Career: 18 seasons (1961-78)

Passing: 47,003 yards, 342 touchdowns

Rushing: 3,674 yards, 32 touchdowns

An anomaly during his career with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, "Scramblin’ Fran" is often forgotten in these discussions. However, fans should never forget that he retired with the most passing and rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. The way offenses and defenses are now constructed, that is a feat no other quarterback will ever accomplish.


1. Michael Vick

Career: 13 seasons (2001-06, '09-15)

Passing: 22,646 yards, 133 touchdowns

Rushing: 6,109 yards, 36 touchdowns

The only quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season (2006) completed 56 percent of his passes and averaged an NFL record seven yards a carry in a career interrupted by a two-year suspension for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. His success with the Atlanta Falcons before the suspension and with the Philadelphia Eagles after it ushered in the era of the dual-threat quarterback.


*Active player, statistics through 2019 season.


— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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