How Did Lamar Jackson Not Get Drafted Sooner?


How Did Lamar Jackson Not Get Drafted Sooner?

By James Jackson

November 4, 2019


Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were all quarterbacks drafted before Lamar Jackson. Jackson found himself being drafted 32nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. The question is, how did those four quarterbacks get drafted before Jackson?

Jackson’s scouting report reads:

Strengths

  • Elite playmaker with rare ability to hit home runs with his arm or legs
  • Has experience under center
  • Arm is lively and can spin it
  • Delivery devoid of wasted motion
  • Ball comes out with flick of the wrist reminiscent of Michael Vick
  • Can drive it with velocity
  • Pocket poise and pre-snap plan has improved each year
  • Has improved ability to hold safeties and linebackers with his eyes
  • Feathery deep ball touch off play fakes
  • Requirement of full-time spy lightens coverage numbers
  • Willing to take sack over making haphazard throw
  • Maestro of improv who is Second City worthy
  • Scrambling forces cornerbacks to choose between receiver and potential run support
  • Destroys pursuit angles when he runs
  • Has open field instincts and elusiveness of elite running back
  • Understands when his speed can eliminate a tackler and moves attention to the next level of danger
  • Red-zone juggernaut
  • Tallied 10 rushing touchdowns of over 40 yards in three seasons

Weaknesses

  • Carries spindly legs and a thin base
  • Slightly built for punishing hits he takes from pocket and as a runner
  • Must learn to slide
  • Lackadaisical in setup
  • Throws with excessively narrow base and stiff front side
  • Flips it rather than throws it
  • Makes targets work too hard
  • Sails throws that can end up in hands of a safety
  • At times, hesitates to challenge safeties in the seam
  • Low release point leads to tipped passes
  • Typically gets through reads 1 and 2 before halting progressions
  • Pocket awareness has room for improvement
  • Move accuracy on rollouts and scrambles is poor
  • Highly inaccurate with throws on the move throughout the 2017 season
  • Underthrown deep balls allow cornerbacks to play the ball
  • Lacks touch over the heads of middle linebackers into intermediate pockets
  • Turnover total still too high

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has thrown for 1,813 yards this season, that’s more than Darnold, Allen and Rosen has so far this season. Baker Mayfield is just above Jackson with 1,963 passing yards this season. When looking at his rushing stats, Jackson currently sits 10th overall in rushing yards this season with 637. That’s more than Ezekiel Elliott, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and Sony Michel.

When looking back at the 2018 NFL Draft, it was clear that the Browns, Jets, Bills, Cardinals and even New England (looked for a solid backup for Tom Brady, ended up drafting Danny Etling in the latter stages of the draft) all needed a quarterback to help their situation. However, most of those teams are still struggling to put the pieces together. Lamar Jackson looks a lot like a Russell Wilson or Michael Vick and has all the talent in the world to be a superstar in the NFL. His performance against the New England Patriots on Sunday night showed that.

I'm sure team's like Cleveland and New York are kicking themselves for passing on Jackson. As previously mentioned, the Patriots had a chance to draft Jackson with the 31st overall pick in the draft but ultimately chose running back Sony Michel. Michel has been a great addition to the New England offense so that turned out to be a solid pick. However, if they had chosen Jackson to be Tom Brady's back-up, who knows what the Patriots would look like after Brady retires. Jackson finds himself in a good spot in Baltimore, after taking over for a rather disappoint 2018 Joe Flacco. Give him a few years, Jackson will be a NFL MVP in no time. As for those drafted before him, their future is still up in the air.


PHOTOS:

Tom Pennington

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