With the NFL combine starting up earlier this week, scouts are getting ready dissect every single player in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold, Bradley Chubb, and Derwin James are some of the names people are going to keep seeing until the NFL draft gets underway on April 26, 2018. Another name that will be seen a million times will be Lamar Jackson’s. The former Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Louisville is a playmaker who’s future NFL position is being put into question.
Lamar Jackson is no Antwaan Randle El, Lamar Jackson is not Julian Edelman nor Braxton Miller. What Lamar Jackson is is an NFL quarterback.
Randle El, Edelman, and Miller are some notable players to make the transition from collegiate quarterback to wide receiver, but they were never the talent that Lamar Jackson is. There is no good reason for any team in the NFL to consider Lamar Jackson as something other than a quarterback.
The knocks against Jackson playing quarterback are his slight frame, accuracy issues, and ,according to Bill Polian, being too short (even though Jackson was measured at over 6’2″ at the combine).
If we take a look at each critique of Jackson’s game, people will be able to see why the notion of Jackson moving out to receiver should be laughable.
Jackson does seem skinny when you look at him but he actually measured in with a very similar height and weight as Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton yet Dalton was never knocked for how much he weighed. To add on to that, if a team really wants to make sure Jackson is the playing size of an NFL quarterback just throw a pound of chicken in front of him tell him to dig in.
The biggest issue at hand is Jackson’s accuracy. Jackson started his career at Louisville with a 54.7% completion rate (not good) but he improved every year in school. He climbed from the 54 number to 56.2% and finally, in his junior season, 59.1%. Meanwhile Josh Allen from Wyoming, another top quarterback in this draft, never completed over 56% of his passes in college but there is no doubt he will be drafted in the first round.
Jackson is even frequently compared to Michael Vick, former number 1 pick of the Atlanta Falcons, who only completed 56% of his passes in two seasons at Virginia Tech.
It simply makes no sense why people don’t think this guy can play quarterback. He has good arm strength, can extend plays, and could be the best running QB in the entire league right away.
During his time at Louisville, Jackson ran for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns all while averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Yes it would be intriguing to have him line up outside and use that speed and ball carrier vision, but if the team that selects him keeps him in the pocket, he can add another dimension to the team. Running quarterbacks have to be accounted for. Cam Newton has become a nightmare for defenses around the NFL just because of how he can run the ball. Jackson would have a similar effect.
So there it is. Lamar Jackson should be an NFL quarterback. In this draft I consider Jackson a second rounder because of the question marks mentioned. Still, those question marks can be proved wrong in a hot minute. Tom Brady had a lot of question marks coming out of Michigan but now he is laughing at everyone with five Super Bowl rings and multiple MVP awards and with his talent, it is possible Jackson gets to that same point as Brady; laughing at all his haters.
Photo Courtesy Nazrul Islam / Flickr
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)