Could Lamar Jackson become a good NFL wide receiver? Maybe, but he has the potential to be a special quarterback.
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
Like Lamar Jackson, it’s too short.
“Eight years on the mic and I’m not jokin’/Sir Too Short comin’ straight from Oakland”
Legendary NFL scouting type and GM Bill Polian suggested that Louisville’s Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson projects to be a better receiver in the NFL than QB, and the social media world hasn’t exactly been kind.
Start with the undertones of this whole thing …
– We just completed the NFL’s 52nd Super Bowl. In that time, a mere seven quarterbacks among the 104 possible starters – Doug Williams, Donovan McNabb, Colin Kaepernick, Steve McNair, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson (twice) – were African-American, with just Williams and Wilson winning.
Meanwhile, four of the last five college football national championship-winning starting quarterbacks, and seven of the ten starters in those games, were African-American. And, in terms of diversity, that doesn’t include Samoans Marcus Mariota, and CFP fill-in hero Tua Tagovailoa.
Throw in how Kaepernick was blackballed from the league this year, and anything revolving around African-American quarterbacks and the NFL is going to be a hot-button issue.
Not helping the cause …
– Polian stepped in it by saying the 6-3 Jackson was short for the position, while he famously gushed about Johnny Manziel being good enough to have gone fourth overall. He’s also not suggesting that the barely 6-1 Baker Mayfield is too short to be a quarterback. Also …
– The Internet is an unforgiving place. More and more, the entire NFL scouting thing is finally being exposed for being the gigantic crock of hooey that it is – in today’s day and age, drafting a good player is 96% dumb luck, 3% more hard work than the other guy, 1% skill. Every draft analyst is now on the record with several hot take misfires on prospects that can be weaponized at any time to discredit anyone’s credentials.
Even with all of that, there is just a little bit of merit to what Polian is suggesting.
Jackson has blazing speed and the body of an elite wide receiver. Even though Jackson himself admitted he can’t catch, the measurables alone make him an ideal NFL receiver prospect.
Let’s say Jackson turns out to be no big deal as a quarterback and it doesn’t work out. Then, okay, maybe try him out as a receiver – Terrelle Pryor has done just fine for himself, at least in his bank account.
But with his big-time arm, unmatched creativity with the ball in his hands, leadership, and experience carrying the Louisville offense to huge stats and plenty of big moments, who doesn’t want to see this guy get his shot at tearing the league apart?
Is he the prototype NFL quarterback? Not really, but he has the potential to be among the most unique talents the NFL has ever seen, sort of like another guy with nearly the same measurables who turned out to be The Ultimate Weapon.
You want the comp? Tall – and Jackson is tall – thin, with the deep arm, command of an offense, and elite mobility? Just … this …
No, Jackson isn’t built to take a big pounding, but Josh Rosen is? Mayfield isn’t exactly Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger in terms of build, and Sam Darnold can’t stop giving the ball away to the other team whenever a defender breathes on him wrong.
For Polian and all the NFL scouts, it’s time to read the room.
Of course you’d love to draft the next Tom Brady, but that was blind luck for the Patriots.
Nick Foles just won the Super Bowl, and Case Keenum and Blake Bortles were close. You can win now with a great defense, strong coaching, and good all-around talent. You don’t need to have a superstar at quarterback, but if you have a difference-maker, that obviously helps.
Compared to a few years ago, now it’s possible to take a relative chance on a quarterback. As the Eagles and Vikings just proved, you can lose your starter and avoid a lost season.
So why not shoot for the stars? You really want to try out a legendary college quarterback this good and this amazing at receiver?
If you’re the Broncos at the five, and your all-timer quarterback/GM was one of the great strong-armed, mobile artists in football history, you make up for the Tim Tebow and Paxton Lynch first round misfires with one pick. Lamar Jackson.
If you’re the Jets at the six, are you really going to throw $60 million at Kirk Cousins? You want to energize your franchise in a blip? Lamar Jackson.
If you’re Arizona at the 15 and you just lost Carson Palmer, for a franchise going in a new direction … Lamar Jackson.
You want to make a splash in Los Angeles, Chargers? With just a few Phil Rivers seasons left in the tank, here’s your marquee star to groom for the next phase. Lamar Jackson.
He’ll be there for you, Buffalo.
He might not be a bad idea for 2019 after Ben Roethlisberger really is done, Pittsburgh.
He might be the player to build around so you can ditch everyone else, Minnesota.
And God forbid that Belichick has something figured out to make Jackson the next guy up after Brady finally gets old.
Of course Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.
In this draft, he might just be the best quarterback.
And this …