By staff —
If Lamar Jackson enters the coming NFL Draft, he will be one of the biggest stories. Of course, he will be selected, but what position will he play? Will he be able to stick it out at quarterback or will he change positions?
Our sports staff weighs in.
Dalton Ray: Nay
Jackson has earned the right to be selected as a quarterback in the coming NFL Draft. In terms of total quarterback rating, Jackson is third in the nation behind Arizona’s Khalil Tate and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
He has come light years as a passer, but Jackson won’t get the chance he deserves. Jackson is an outstanding athlete and teams will want him on the field in some form. I don’t expect teams to truly give him a chance to be a quarterback, preventing him from excelling at the position.
Matt Bradshaw: Yay
Jackson has put up too many record-breaking numbers for his professional stock to plummet. Compared most often to the great Michael Vick, the Cardinal quarterback has already put to shame Vick’s college statistics.
Moreover, No. 8 has shown the resolve to keep improving his raw talent. Tall enough for good vision, bulk enough to handle the hits and better passing ability all but solidify his future as a valuable first-round draft pick.
Conner Farrell: Yay
Jackson’s elite speed will translate well to the way NFL offenses are trending — spreading the ball out and even adding more run-pass options than ever. The biggest knock by scouts on the 6-foot-3 QB has been his passing, particularly his accuracy and ability to understand reads in a pro-style offense. Using this season, especially the past three games, as evidence Jackson has only improved in those areas as a passer.
Jordan Shim: Yay
Running quarterbacks don’t last long in the NFL, so he’ll have to learn to play more from the pocket and use his legs to avoid the pass rush more than running for big gains. He has a big arm, added with decent deep ball accuracy, so that will be a major plus for him.
Jeff Milby: Nay
Jackson will be selected in next June’s NFL Draft. His exceptional talent, with both his arm and his legs, will see to that. But whether he becomes a success at the next level is more complicated. Jackson fits an archetype that has a mixed bag of results in the NFL.
If everything falls to his favor, Jackson figures to be the second coming of Michael Vick, a generational talent and league-wide fan favorite who has the ability to stupefy defensive coordinators. His slight frame and propensity to run is reminiscent of another Heisman Trophy winner — Robert Griffin III. After reaching the summit of college football at Baylor, Griffin was a rookie-sensation in Washington, until a rash of injuries halted his promising career.
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Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal