Football Film Room Prospect Profile: Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville
2016 Heisman Trophy Winner, first player in NCAA history with back to back 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Sounds like an exciting, easy 1st Round QB in the 2018 NFL Draft right? Not so fast...
Lamar is a very electric player who can make a play with his feet or even by throwing the ball on any given play, but more so on his feet. Teams worry so much about his running ability that they almost want the Heisman QB to throw instead and will stack the box or add a spy to try and contain him. The guy requires a lot of attention, but will he be the NFL's next Michael Vick, or another QB position change like Terrelle Pryor? Lets find out...
-Lamar, even as a running threat, has matured into a very calm pocket passer. Most QBs with his ability run as soon as they feel any sort of pressure, he even did during his Sophomore season. However, you can tell he has matured as a passer and is making progressions to become a better NFL QB.
-Jackson's arm strength is definitely on an NFL level. He has the ability to make deep throws, put touch on passes, and can even throw bullets when needed. He possesses the arm talent and ball skills to put the ball wherever he wants, which will definitely help him and his draft stock.
-Obviously, Lamar is an elite athlete. He has the speed of a receiver, the vision and cutting ability of a running back, and the arm of a QB. He uses his unique talent to demolish opposing defenses, and he even takes over games on his own. He has the ability to be a franchise QB, but not all scouts may feel the same.
-Lamar has been seen as very inaccurate at times, especially as a sophomore. Although he has improved his completion percentage as a junior, he doesn't seem reliable as a passer if he were to have to throw 30+ times a game.
-Another thing about Jackson is the offense he runs at Louisville. He, mostly, has played in a pistol formation and lacks the experience taking snaps under center. We've seen him take more snaps from under the center this season,but still. He needs more experience for sure.
-Overall, Lamar lacks a lot of fundamentals that mature NFL QBs have right now. He stares down his receivers a lot, he checks down a lot instead of looking downfield to make a play, he tries to do too much with his feet at times, and he gets antsy under pressure. I have faith that he can grow out of those immature traits, but will NFL GMs?
-As a mobile QB, you would need to be able to extend the pocket and make throws on the run. Lamar is super inaccurate as a passer when on the run. He absolutely NEEDS to improve his pass on the run on the next level if he wants to be a franchise QB. With the right mechanics coach, he should be able to progress.
So, after all that, what do I see in Lamar? I think he has a lot to improve on if he wants to make a transition to QB and not another position in the NFL. He has super rare talent and ability, but some teams may want to utilize him as a RB or WR which is a huge waste in my opinion. From his Sophomore to Junior season, he has made great progressions as a passer and his coach has implemented more Pro-style looks to get him more experience in and NFL type offense. So he obviously is committed to the QB role and has shown signs of improvement.
With all these questions in mind, I have ranked him as the 4th best QB in this draft class.