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. In past seasons, Jackson would have been an outlier as a signal-caller, but today, we are seeing more and more dual-threat quarterbacks.


But even though there are is an increase, a quarterback who is a threat with both his arm and his feet is truly special and wows fans regardless of the era. Here are the five 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. If his body holds up and he has more postseason success, he will climb this list.


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 Week 6 of 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.

Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: