BY ETHAN MUNCAN
Lamar Jackson was recently drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 NFL draft. As a quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals, Jackson won the Heisman trophy and threw for 3,543 passing yards, rushed for 1,571 yards and finished with 30 touchdowns. Jackson only threw nine interceptions and had 21 touchdowns on 260 carries. He proved to be the best player in college football.
Multiple NFL teams have asked Jackson to work out as a receiver at the combine, but he made it clear that he would only play quarterback wherever he gets drafted. Bill Polian, an NFL analyst, said that Jackson is too “short” and “slight”, and will make a better fit for a receiver. Another reason analysts say he should play receiver is that of his completion rate (59.1%) compared to Sam Darnold (63.1%) and Josh Rosen (62.6%). Jackson’s rate falls short of these traditional pocket quarterbacks.
“Lamar may have been a good quarterback in college but I’m not sure he could ever be an NFL style pocket passer,” Yassen Mubarak said. “While I believe it makes sense for the Ravens to at least try him out at quarterback, his skill set may be better suited as an NFL wide receiver.”
I believe Jackson will succeed at quarterback due to his versatility in the pocket. He is able to swing the ball downfield and rush out the pocket and score touchdowns like any other field player. His play style is similar to Michael Vick, who dominated the league for years. Jackson finished the 2017 season with 27 touchdowns while passing for 3,660 yards and throwing only 10 interceptions. It’s clear that Jackson will be a true force in the NFL and resembles the playing style of past scrambling quarterbacks who were successful in the league. The Cardinals went 8-5 in the 2017 season and took down many teams due to Jackson’s dominant passing and rushing scheme.
“Lamar Jackson has surely shown his prowess at QB. He even won the 2016 Heisman trophy as Louisville’s starting QB,” Ethan Roberts said. “Lamar Jackson is truly a special dual-threat quarterback, and to not play him at his preferred position is criminal. Who knows, maybe he can rise to the level of those we compare him to, such as Cam Newton?”
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated