Ranking Heisman Trophy winners in the NFL now, starting with Lamar Jackson
The so-called Heisman Curse might be a thing of the past.
A total of 10 former Heisman Trophy winners are active in the NFL, and that includes last year's NFL MVP and Rookie of the Year. Half of those former Heisman winners play in the same division, and Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow will be in action Thursday night when the Browns face the Bengals.
We've ranked them by their value right now to their respective franchises. How would you rank these former Heisman winners?
1 Lamar Jackson (2016)
Cheat code. That is one of the many descriptions used to describe Jackson on the field. He is a dynamic runner and fluid passer, and that led to him being named NFL MVP last season. The postseason success is the next step, but he showed no signs of slowing down in an almost flawless Week 1 performance against the Browns.
2 Kyler Murray (2018)
Is Murray the future in the NFC West? He earned Rookie of the Year honors last season, and he opened 2020 with 230 passing yards and 91 rushing yards in an upset of the defending NFC champion 49ers. The relationship with Kliff Kingsbury continues to pay off, and Murray seems poised for bigger and better days in the NFL.
3 Derrick Henry (2015)
Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 TDs last season, and the big-time bruiser carried the Titans to the AFC championship game. That marked back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, and that game plan has not changed in 2020.
4 Cam Newton (2010)
Newton spent nine seasons in Carolina and peaked when he won the NFL MVP award in 2015 while leading the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. Injuries have slowed down that career trajectory, but his new landing spot in New England is one of the biggest storylines for 2020.
5 Joe Burrow (2019)
After one start? Burrow will go through the growing pains of any other rookie, but the two-minute drive to put the Bengals in position to win in Week 1 offers a glimpse of what is to come. Burrow has the right mindset to be Cincinnati's next franchise quarterback — and perhaps savior.
6 Baker Mayfield (2017)
Mayfield broke out with 27 TDs as a rookie, but he's struggled to recapture that over the past two seasons. It's not all his fault, not with three coaches in three seasons. The pressure is on, however, with Browns fans getting restless. Mayfield is 12-18 as a starter.
7 Mark Ingram (2009)
Ingram is coming off his third season with 1,000-plus yards, and he's the hammer in Baltimore's offense. Ingram has improved since coming from New Orleans, but he has company in the Ravens' backfield with JK Dobbins. Still, the former Alabama star has carved out a fine career at the next level.
8 Jameis Winston (2013)
Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards last season. How could he be ranked this low? Winston also threw 30 interceptions, and he finished with a 28-42 record as a starter with Tampa Bay. He’s now the backup quarterback in New Orleans, which might revive his career when he gets the next chance to start.
9 Marcus Mariota (2014)
Mariota compiled a 29-32 record in five seasons with the Titans, and he led a run to the AFC divisional playoffs in 2017. Mariota lost the starting job to Ryan Tannehill, however, and now he's a backup with the Las Vegas Raiders. He is currently on injured reserve.
10 Robert Griffin III (2011)
Hey, he's been in the league longer than Andrew Luck. RGIII is 16-25 as a starter, but he's found a steady role as a backup quarterback for Baltimore the past three seasons. He played in mop-up duty in Week 1 against the Browns.