No. 32: Ravens take Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson
Quarterback, Louisville
6-2, 216, 40 time: 4.42
Projection: First Round

The numbers are tough to fathom: Consecutive 3,500-yard passing and 1,500-yard rushing seasons? Jackson was the first in college football history to achieve that feat. He was also the first underclassman to top 7,000 career passing yards and 3,000 career rushing yards.

Jackson ran away with the Heisman Trophy in 2016 with 3,543 passing yards, 1,571 rushing yards and 51 total touchdowns. And he surpassed several of his sophomore year numbers as a junior in 2017, finishing with 3,660 passing yards, 1,601 rushing yards and 45 total scores. Bottom line: he was a touchdown machine in college, averaging 3.7 per game after becoming the full-time starter as a sophomore.

The most electric quarterback prospect since Michael Vick, Jackson is an explosive athlete and moves at speeds that are noticeably different than everyone else on the field. It is easy to get excited about his highlight reel runs, leaving defenders in his dust. But NFL teams and their evaluations will focus more on his development as a passer, which is why there are so many varying opinions in the scouting community.

Jackson, who never reached 60-percent completions in any of his three seasons in college, has shaky body and base mechanics, which alter his tempo and accuracy as a passer. There are no questions about his arm strength, firing unforced fastballs with a simple throwing motion, but he is a very streaky downfield thrower, hitting his man in stride or missing by 10 yards (without much in between).

Jackson is a first-round athlete with impressive leadership skills, but it will take a creative offensive coordinator willing to open up the playbook to get the promising quarterback comfortable with the speed of the NFL.

–Field Level Media

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