When a football fan thinks of top dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history, names like Michael Vick and Steve Young immediately come to mind. A lot of quarterbacks are good at one aspect but not the other. Some have high-powered arms built for record-breaking passing stats, but are slow as molasses outside the pocket and do not amount to much in the run game. Others are speedy, elite athletes who are a threat to run every time they touch the ball, but their arm accuracy and talent is a bit lacking.
It's truly special when both skills come together in one quarterback.
Young and Randall Cunningham were the pioneers of this type of quarterback. Cunningham, a four-time Pro Bowler, carved up teams for 11 seasons and retired in 2001 as the all-time leading rusher for a signal caller. Young turned his legs and arm into a Hall of Fame career with seven Pro Bowls, three First-Team All-Pro selections, two MVP awards, and three Super Bowl titles, finishing just under 700 yards short of Cunningham's QB rushing record.
Now, after years where running quarterbacks were rare, it seems the league is full of quality dual-threat quarterbacks. In fact, it almost seems necessary to have one these days.
Lamar Jackson set the single-season rushing record for a quarterback last season in an MVP campaign, with 1,206 rushing yards, which is a stellar season for a running back and downright absurd for a signal caller. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray are all quality dual-threat quarterbacks.
But despite the increase in quarterbacks in today's NFL who are weapons both as a passer and a runner, none of them have the resume Russell Wilson has built during his nine NFL seasons and at this point, he deserves to be acknowledged as the greatest dual-threat signal caller of all-time.
Being the best of the group requires elite passing skills and accuracy just as much as it does athleticism and foot speed. Wilson checks off all of those boxes.
First, the arm. It is well known across the Pacific Northwest and anywhere else the 12s may be that Wilson ranks second all-time in passer rating at 102.4. To give that some context, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has exceeded Wilson's career mark in a single game just six times in three years.
At the moment, there is nobody who throws the ball downfield better in the entire NFL than Seattle's 5-foot-11 captain. Ahead of this season, Pro Football Focus graded Wilson as the best deep passer in the entire league. Wilson currently owns a 95.2 grade from Pro Football Focus for this current season and has been credited with more touchdown passes of 30 or more yards than any other quarterback so far.
Nobody has more passing touchdowns than Wilson since 2017 and it's not close. The talent and production with Wilson's arm is indisputable. Basically, the league's current best passer, along with one of the best passers of all-time, just happens to be fleet of foot as well.
With his legs, Wilson has been just as lethal. He has ran for at least 250 yards in every one of his nine seasons thus far and has exceeded 500 yards four times. Among quarterbacks, Wilson ranks fourth in career rushing yards at 4,253, having passed the Hall of Famer Steve Young against the Cardinals two weeks ago.
It's not out of the question to think he could catch Randall Cunningham for third place all-time at 4,928 even next season. Michael Vick's all-time record of 6,109 rushing yards seems safe, but Wilson could very well end up second all-time before his career is over.
Here is the kicker- nobody on this list is a better passer than Russell Wilson. Among quarterbacks with at least 3,400 career rushing yards (10 signal callers total), Wilson is number one in passer rating at 102.4 and Steve Young is a distant second at 96.8. Wilson also has a career 64.9 percent completion percentage, the best among these 10 quarterbacks as well, better than Young's 64.3 percent mark. Players like Michael Vick, Steve McNair, Cunningham, John Elway, and Cam Newton put up some good passing numbers along with their legs but none of them match up to the consistency and efficiency that Wilson boasts.
By any metric, Wilson is clearly the greatest passer among the true dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history. Thus, this makes him the best dual-threat signal caller in NFL history. Among the top 10 rushing quarterbacks, he also is one of just three, along with Elway and Young, that have won a Super Bowl.
Among those three, Wilson is the best pure passer and he has more passing touchdowns than Steve Young had in his 15-year career and should catch Elway's 300 touchdown total very soon, maybe even as soon as next year.
Plus, being a dual-threat is not just about racking up rushing yards. It's about extending plays, skillfully avoiding the rush in the pocket, making tacklers miss to create plays downfield for the receivers. Who does that better than Russell Wilson? Nobody.
All of this and Wilson is just 31 years old with plenty of football left, aiming to play until he's 45. When taking into account the passing ability along with the athleticism with their legs, Wilson is second to none among dual threat signal callers and when he hangs up his cleats, there may never be another player quite like him.