Lamar Jackson is hoping to hear his name called in the first round.
Lamar Jackson has been one of the most debated quarterback prospects of the 2018 NFL draft. With all the debate, where is Jackson predicted to be drafted? It depends on who you ask, but there seems to be a consensus that he will land inside the first round.
That’s a huge range for Jackson, and it speaks to how polarizing his stock is around the league. A team like the Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Chargers could take Jackson in the first round. As of last week, I was hearing consistent information that he would be drafted in Round 1, so it is likely he’ll be selected on Thursday.
Jackson’s floor is pick No. 40, where the Denver Broncos could make him the quarterback of the future should he somehow last until Day 2.
The teams most likely to be interested are the Cardinals, Chargers and possibly the Saints.
The Brown family has a shake-it-up history at quarterback dating back to Boomer Esiason in round two of 1984, and this would certainly shake up the locker room and the draft. So many reliable draftniks (Mayock, McShay, etc.) think Jackson has the potential to be the most exciting and productive quarterback in this crop—but you’ll have to cater your offense to him. Isn’t that what good coaches do? Get very good players and cater their schemes to fit the players? I like this pick for the Bengals, even if it could push Andy Dalton (five of seven starting seasons with a sub-90 passer rating) out of town in 2019.
In recent days, the Patriots continue to be linked to Jackson. On paper, it makes some sense given New England has two first round picks. The Patriots are in need of a successor for Brady after trading away top backups last season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Patriots were “intrigued and impressed” after their visit with Jackson. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco believes the Patriots are floating out the info on Jackson as a smokescreen.
“I think they’re leaking stuff out because they want people to go up and get him,” Prisco noted.
This is Ozzie Newsome’s last draft as the GM of the Ravens, and I can see him going out with a giant splash. Has there ever been a franchise that needed a spark more than Baltimore right now? Alex Smith seemed like the future of the franchise in Kansas City … until the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes. Could we see the same deal in Baltimore with Joe Flacco and Jackson?
Too often, Jackson has been categorized as simply a mobile quarterback, and his entire body of work may have been discounted during the process. Jackson did throw for more than 3,500 yards his last two seasons at Louisville. Jackson’s accuracy is a concern, but the quarterback did see his completion percentage go up nearly three percent last season to 59.1 percent.
What makes Jackson really unique is his running ability. Jackson rushed for 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017. The previous season Jackson rushed for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns which helped him earn the Heisman Trophy.
Jackson has approached the draft in an unconventional manner, declining to sign with an agent while having his mother serve as his manager. Jackson also declined to workout as a wide receiver trusting in his body of work at Louisville as a quarterback.