Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been voted the NFL’s top player by his peers, finishing first in the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2020.”
The league’s reigning Most Valuable Player finished ahead of runner-up Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks’ All-Pro quarterback. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, last year’s top player, was third, while Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl LIV MVP Patrick Mahomes finished fourth in the countdown, which concluded Wednesday night.
At 23 years old, Jackson is by far the youngest player to receive to top honors in the 10-year history of the “Top 100,” besting Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who was 26 in 2015. Jackson also edged linebacker Ray Lewis, who ranked No. 4 in 2011, for the highest finish by a Raven. NFL Films collected 970 ballots and interviewed 132 players for “Top 100 Players of 2020.”
In only his second year, and his first as a full-time starter, Jackson had one of the most impressive seasons in NFL history. He accounted for a league-high 43 touchdowns, broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback, posted two perfect passer ratings, and led the Ravens to 14 wins and the AFC’s top seed.
“I think his season is historic,” NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner told The Baltimore Sun in December. “To me, it needs to go down as one of the best quarterback seasons that we’ve seen, just because we’ve never seen anything like it. And being at that level both ways [as a runner and passer] is incredible. ...
“I think it’s a special, special season that we need to appreciate, because we may never see it again.”
Jackson, who did not make the NFL’s “Top 100” list last year, finished ahead of a handful of countdown regulars. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry rounded out the top 10.
The Ravens had an NFL-high seven players overall on the “Top 100,″ along with the New Orleans Saints. Running back Mark Ingram II (No. 44), cornerback Marcus Peters (No. 53), left tackle Ronnie Stanley (No. 74), safety Earl Thomas III (No. 75), defensive end Calais Campbell (No. 79) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (No. 86) were also honored, while outside linebacker Matthew Judon (No. 107) was an honorable mention.