Weight: 200 pounds
School: Louisville Cardinals
Lamar Jackson 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Quarterback is less of a “one size fits all” position in the NFL than it was in years past. Though teams still search for specific traits, not being a prototypical pocket passer is less of a dealbreaker nowadays. Players such as Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick among others have proven that dual-threat signal callers have a place in this league. Lamar Jackson is in a good position to continue that trend.
Jackson honed his ability to beat opposing defenses with his arm and feet at Boynton Beach High School about an hour north of Miami, FL. He passed and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior and a senior, combining for 45 touchdowns through the air and 35 on the ground in that time. As a result, he garnered numerous Power Five scholarship offers including from Florida and Florida State. But the consensus four-star prospect gave his pledge to Bobby Petrino and Louisville prior to his senior year of high school.
As a true freshman, Jackson shared time behind center with Kyle Bolin but still managed to lead the Cardinals with 1,840 yards passing and 12 touchdown throws. He also finished with a team-leading 960 yards on the ground and 11 rushing touchdowns. But the following season was truly his coming out party. Jackson finished tied for second in the ACC with 30 passing touchdowns while rushing for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns, both conference records for a quarterback. For his efforts, Jackson became the youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy. He also took home the Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award along with conference offensive and overall player of the year.
In his bid to become the first repeat Heisman winner since Archie Griffin, Jackson actually exceeded his yardage totals from 2016 in both the run and pass game. But Baker Mayfield proved unassailable in leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff. Nevertheless, Jackson left an indelible mark on college football over the past two seasons. His 5,261 yards of total offense in 2017 is the seventh best single-season mark in FBS history.
- stays fairly poised as a passer in pressure situations;
- accuracy goes way up when given a clean pocket;
- can effectively climb the pocket to elude perimeter pressure;
- uses his eyes to move safeties and open up bigger zone windows;
- extraordinarily deceptive at mesh point in zone read situations;
- most of his rushing output is the result of designed runs rather than bailing on the pass;
- exceptional acceleration to full speed augments his value as a dual-threat;
- thin-framed player whose body might struggle to hold up in the NFL given style of play;
- veers onto back foot too often, leading to passes sailing on him;
- not a lot of pop on his deep ball;
- ability to make all the NFL throws remains a question mark;
- release point tends to be too low which can lead to batted balls at the line of scrimmage;
- will need to get comfortable with ball exchange right behind center;
- completed just 57 percent of his passes in college;
NFL Comparison: Robert Griffin III
Projection: Mid to late first round
He may not be in the discussion as a potential top-five pick a la Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. But Jackson has among the more unique skill sets among this year’s draft prospects. He showcased his explosive playmaking ability time and time again in college and there’s no reason he can’t replicate it in the pros. However, his accuracy numbers are a concern and even though he stayed healthy at Louisville, teams might worry about him taking too many big hits when utilizing his gifts as a runner. Scheme fit is going to play a part in the amount of success Jackson realizes at the next level, with him being an ideal fit with teams who incorporate a lot of run-pass option.