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Top 10 Best Running Quarterbacks in NFL History

NFL's Top 10 Best Dual-Threat Quarterbacks of All-Time

by Riley Baines
Top Running QBs Lamar Jackson, Michael Vick, and Cam Newton in action

Top 10 Best Running Quarterbacks in NFL History

In the electrifying world of the NFL, where strategy meets agility, a select group of quarterbacks has redefined the essence of a dual-threat. These athletes, with their exceptional running ability, have blurred the lines between passer and rusher. These are some of the best scrambling quarterbacks who made plays both behind and past the line of scrimmage. These are the top 10 best Running Quarterbacks in NFL history.

This list is a tribute to those remarkable quarterbacks whose legs are as potent as their arms. While passing accuracy, vision, and arm strength carry their weight in gold, our focus shifts slightly towards their scrambling ability, celebrating those who’ve turned pocket escapes into an art form and rushing yards into a quarterback’s asset.


Image of Donovan McNabb ranked #10 among the top running quarterbacks, showing his career stats and accolades.

“Donovan McNabb: Ranked #10 on the Top Running Quarterbacks in NFL History, highlighting his impressive career achievements and stats.

#10 – Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb earns the #10 spot with his remarkable running ability and iconic moments, such as the “4th and 26” play, showcasing his knack for pivotal performances under pressure. Amassing 3,459 rushing yards, McNabb wasn’t just fast; he was a master at flipping the script on the field, making every scramble count. His leadership propelled the Philadelphia Eagles through thrilling postseason journeys, including a significant Super Bowl appearance.

Career Passing Stats for Donovan McNabb:

  • Yards: 37,276
  • Touchdowns: 234
  • Interceptions: 117
  • Completion Percentage: 59.0%

Career Rushing Stats for Donovan McNabb:

  • Yards: 3,459
  • Touchdowns: 29
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.6


Steve McNair in action, #9 Top Running Quarterback in NFL History

Steve McNair (#9), renowned for his toughness and dynamic playmaking, showcased the true spirit of a running quarterback in the NFL.

#9 – Steve McNair

Steve McNair’s versatility and resilience were highlighted in his ability to lead the Tennessee Titans to a Super Bowl appearance. It’s even more impressive considering Jeff Fisher was his coach. McNair’s leadership and tenacity were recognized when he was awarded the NFL MVP in 2003, a testament to his excellence on the field. McNair’s career average of 5.4 yards per carry doesn’t stack well to the modern day running quarterbacks. What you have to keep in mind is a lot of those big plays came from a scramble turned into a big throw. Rest in Peace Air McNair.

Career Passing Stats for Steve McNair:

  • Yards: 31,304
  • Touchdowns: 174
  • Interceptions: 119
  • Completion Percentage: 60.1%

Career Rushing Stats for Steve McNair:

  • Yards: 3,590
  • Touchdowns: 37
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.4


Russell Wilson in action, #8 Best Running QB, showcasing career highlights and stats.

Dual-threat dynamo Russell Wilson, ranked #8, displays unparalleled agility and intelligence on the field, encapsulating his NFL journey’s highlights and accolades.

#8 – Russell Wilson

Don’t let recency bias spoil your opinion on Russell Wilson. He is one of the best draft steals ever and more of a magician than a Quarterback. With over 4,500 rushing yards at an impressive average of 5.5 yards per carry, he’s turned potential disasters into dazzling plays. His career, highlighted by leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win, showcases not just a knack for passing but a fearless approach to taking off when the pocket collapses. It’s not just the stats that make Wilson stand out; it’s those moments where he dodges a sack, scrambles, and finds a way to win from nothing.

Career Passing Stats for Russell Wilson:

  • Yards: 43,653
  • Touchdowns: 334
  • Interceptions: 106
  • Completion Percentage: 64.7%

Career Rushing Stats for Russell Wilson:

  • Yards: 5,307
  • Touchdowns: 29
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.4


Fran Tarkenton, #7 Best Running QB in NFL history, showcasing agility and skill.

Fran Tarkenton, at #7, revolutionized the quarterback run game with his unmatched scrambling ability, setting the stage for future generations.

#7 – Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton clinches the #7 spot in our countdown of the top 10 best running quarterbacks in NFL history, a tribute to his revolutionary impact on the quarterback position. Tarkenton, a maestro of the scramble, turned broken plays into spectacular gains, racking up yards with his legs that quarterbacks of his era could never even dream of doing. His career, spanning 18 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants, was marked by an agility and creativity that defied the pocket-passer norm. Not just content to run, Tarkenton also amassed over 47,000 passing yards and 342 touchdowns, proving his prowess as a true dual-threat. With his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1986, Tarkenton’s legacy as a pioneer for mobile quarterbacks was cemented. His style of play not only captivated fans but also paved the way for future generations of quarterbacks, making the NFL the dynamic league it is today.

Career Passing Stats for Fran Tarkenton:

  • Yards: 47,003
  • Touchdowns: 342
  • Interceptions: 266
  • Completion Percentage: 57.0%

Career Rushing Stats for Fran Tarkenton:

  • Yards: 3,674
  • Touchdowns: 32
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.4


Josh Allen in action, ranked #6 among NFL's best running QBs, displaying power and agility.

At #6, Josh Allen redefines quarterback mobility with his blend of strength, speed, and smart playmaking.

#6 – Josh Allen

Josh Allen, sitting proudly at #6, isn’t just tearing up the turf for the Buffalo Bills; he’s eyeing Cam Newton’s throne for the most quarterback rushing TDs in NFL history. Allen’s mix of brute strength and gazelle-like agility has already etched his name among the elite, making every game a potential highlight reel. What sets Allen apart isn’t just his physical gifts but his knack for scoring when it counts, showcasing a blend of smarts and athleticism that’s rare. He’s on a path that could very well see him leapfrog Newton’s impressive record, a feat that once seemed untouchable. With Allen’s trajectory, the record isn’t just within reach; it’s inevitable. His evolution from a raw talent to a record-chasing leader has been nothing short of spectacular.

Career Passing Stats for Josh Allen:

  • Yards: 22,730
  • Touchdowns: 167
  • Interceptions: 78
  • Completion Percentage: 63.2%

Career Rushing Stats for Josh Allen:

  • Yards: 3,611
  • Touchdowns: 53
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.5


Steve Young, #5 on the list of NFL's top running QBs, showcasing agility and passing skill.

Ranking #5, Steve Young’s legendary running and passing prowess set new standards for quarterback mobility in the NFL.

#5 – Steve Young

At #5, Steve Young is more than just a name in the NFL; he’s a legend who redefined what it means to be a mobile quarterback. Young’s career was a masterclass in agility, vision, and an uncanny ability to turn a collapsing pocket into an explosive play. With the San Francisco 49ers, he didn’t just run; he glided, making defenses pay with both his arm and his legs. Young’s stats speak volumes, but it’s his record for the highest career passer rating among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts that showcases his dual-threat capability. Not to mention, his six NFL passing titles. The man was a touchdown machine, finding the end zone on the ground with a frequency that helped cement his place in the Hall of Fame and as one of the best Quarterbacks ever.

Career Passing Stats for Steve Young:

  • Yards: 33,124
  • Touchdowns: 232
  • Interceptions: 107
  • Completion Percentage: 64.3%

Career Rushing Stats for Steve Young:

  • Yards: 4,239
  • Touchdowns: 43
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.9


Randall Cunningham, dynamic running QB, ranked #4 in NFL history for his agility and innovation.

Randall Cunningham secures the #4 spot, celebrated for transforming the quarterback run game with unparalleled athleticism.

#4 – Randall Cunningham

Randall Cunningham lands at #4, embodying the essence of a running quarterback with a flair that was all his own. In the NFL, where pocket passers reigned, Cunningham brought an electrifying mix of athleticism and arm talent, turning broken plays into highlight reels. His career, notably with the Philadelphia Eagles, was marked by jaw-dropping scrambles and an ability to launch deep bombs on the run. Cunningham’s legacy includes not just the yards he amassed but the way he played the game— with a fearlessness and creativity that changed how quarterbacks were viewed. He was the original high-flier, hurdling over defenders and dodging tackles, making the impossible seem routine.

Career Passing Stats for Randall Cunningham:

  • Yards: 92,979
  • Touchdowns: 207
  • Interceptions: 134
  • Completion Percentage: 56.6%

Career Rushing Stats for Randall Cunningham:

  • Yards: 4,928
  • Touchdowns: 35
  • Average Yards per Carry: 6.4


Cam Newton, #3 top running QB in NFL history, demonstrating powerful running and playmaking ability.

Ranked #3, Cam Newton’s blend of size, strength, and speed revolutionized the quarterback run game.

#3 – Cam Newton

Cam Newton, taking the #3 spot, redefined the quarterback rush game with his sheer power and unparalleled athleticism. At his peak with the Carolina Panthers, Newton was a force of nature, breaking records and bulldozing through defenses as if they were mere speed bumps. His 2015 MVP season, highlighted by leading his team to the Super Bowl, showcased his dual-threat dominance. Newton’s name is synonymous with rushing touchdowns for a quarterback, setting a high bar that future generations will strive to reach. What sets Newton apart isn’t just his physicality but his ability to make crucial plays when it matters most, embodying the essence of a leader. His legacy is not just in the stats or the records but in the way he transformed the quarterback position into one of dynamic versatility. Cam Newton didn’t just play the game; he revolutionized it with his freakish rushing ability.

Career Passing Stats for Cam Newton:

  • Yards: 32,383
  • Touchdowns: 194
  • Interceptions: 123
  • Completion Percentage: 59.9%

Career Rushing Stats for Cam Newton:

  • Yards: 5,628
  • Touchdowns: 75
  • Average Yards per Carry: 5.0


Michael Vick, #2 among NFL's top running QBs, displaying iconic speed and agility.

Michael Vick earns the #2 spot, celebrated for revolutionizing the QB position with his legendary speed and elusiveness.

#2 – Michael Vick

Michael Vick claims the #2 spot, captivating the NFL world with speed and agility previously unseen in a quarterback. His time with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles was nothing short of revolutionary. Vick’s electrifying runs turned him into a human highlight reel, often leaving defenders grasping at air. He was the first quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season, setting a new standard for the position. His legacy is complex, marked by dazzling highs and undeniable lows, but on the field, his talent was undeniable. Michael Vick transformed the quarterback run game and opened doors for the best running quarterback ever.

Career Passing Stats for Michael Vick:

  • Yards: 22,464
  • Touchdowns: 133
  • Interceptions: 88
  • Completion Percentage: 56.2%

Career Rushing Stats for Michael Vick:

  • Yards: 6,109
  • Touchdowns: 36
  • Average Yards per Carry: 7.0


Lamar Jackson, the top running QB in NFL history, showcasing unparalleled athleticism and innovation.

Lamar Jackson, at #1, breaks the mold and sets new standards for quarterback mobility in the NFL.

#1 – Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is the best running Quarterback ever. There have been some revolutionary names mentioned so far, but Lamar Jackson was the first to master the art. From the moment he took the helm for the Baltimore Ravens, Jackson shattered records with a blend of electrifying speed and quickness. He’s not only the fastest quarterback to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season but also broke Michael Vick’s record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season. Beyond the stats, Jackson’s play style is a thrilling spectacle, turning potential sacks into significant gains and touchdowns. His two MVP seasons weren’t just a personal triumph; it was a statement to the league about the evolving quarterback role. Lamar Jackson represents the future of football—a dynamic, unstoppable force rewriting the rules of what a quarterback can be. At the top of this list, he’s not just a player; he’s an era-defining phenomenon.

Career Passing Stats for Lamar Jackson:

  • Yards: 15,887
  • Touchdowns: 125
  • Interceptions: 45
  • Completion Percentage: 64.5%

Career Rushing Stats for Lamar Jackson:

  • Yards: 5,258
  • Touchdowns: 29
  • Average Yards per Carry: 6.0

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