I’ve long dismissed the idiotic talk from the so-called Draft experts regarding their evaluations of Louisville’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. Their cocksure analysis amuses me, especially coming from the likes of Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN’s go-to talking head when it comes to evaluating college players.
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After all, Kiper is that dude who has said, among other things over the years, that Andre Wadsworth was the best overall talent, ahead of Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson, in the 1998 Draft. He called Ki-Jana Carter the next Bo Jackson, rated 25 players ahead of LaDanian Tomlinson in 2001, said that Johnny Manziel was the No.1 overall prospect in 2014 and went so far as to call him the next Fran Tarkenton.
This is the same dude that had Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi rated higher than Cam Newton in 2011, who said that JaMarcus Russell had John Elway-type potential and that Akili Smith and Andre Ware would one day be great NFL signal callers.
If I’m LJ and a team asked me to work out at WR, I wouldn’t want to play for that team. It’s insulting. Additionally, asserting that he can improve and develop (like any pro prospect) shouldn’t be controversial. Can your brain handle this nuanced tweet?
And his colleague Todd McShay ain’t much better. Remember when he said that Blaine Gabbert should be the No. 1 pick ahead of Cam Newton, because Newton had been more “improvisational” in college? You can read into the coded language there on your own.
You get my point here. These guys are hacks.
So when they and others of their ilk started throwing around that nonsense of Jackson, the dynamic dual-threat field general that makes you feel like your eyes have the capacity to lie every time that you watch him, needing to switch to wide receiver to improve his NFL Draft prospects, I just rolled my eyes and dismissed it.
But now that multiple NFL teams have requested that Jackson work out as a wide receiver, my blood is beginning to boil.
LaMar Jackson being asked to work out as a wide receiver at the NFL Combine. I’d say: “No thank you. Why isn’t Josh Allen working out with the tight ends? I’m good.
If I was him, I’d tell each one of those teams, “I look forward to kicking your team’s ass in the near future, playing the position that I was born to play – quarterback!”
Luckily, some of the brightest minds in the game like Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome have said they have absolutely no interest in the ludicrous notion of seeing Jackson work out as a pass catcher.
“Yeah, I’m not much on that,” Reid said Wednesday at the annual meat market known as the NFL Combine. “I want to bring him in. Let’s exhaust that other thing that we know he’s good at and see. I’m just saying in general. This is a general statement: Let’s get him in and let him wing it a little bit and see how he does. We’ll be able to fit some things in there I’m sure.”
Newsome said Friday, “On our board, he’s a quarterback.”
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Despite the fact that he’s never played the position, the Jacksonville Jaquars, who absolutely need an upgrade at QB, are one of the squads who’ve asked him to switch positions. You can now scratch the Jaguars scouting and personnel department off my list of teams that I might have any semblance of respect for.
Jackson won the 2016 Heisman over Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield and finished third this year, a season in which he passed for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns, while adding another 1,601 yards 18 more scores on the ground.
Among the criticisms of Jackson was that hes too short, and that his frame won’t be able to withstand the physical nature of the NFL game. Yet, at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he fits right into the window of what is considered the typical size for the supposed prototype – which is generally regarded to be 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
Some of the best quarterbacks in the league today are either smaller than or around the same size as Jackson, like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Andy Dalton to name a few.
Jackson’s passing percentage has also been called into play, yet his 59.1% completion rate in 2017 was superior to Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen’s 56.3%, yet Allen, who’s being touted by some as the potential No.1 overall pick, is being fawned over as the next Carson Wentz.
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So what gives?
All of the criticism is spurious as far as I’m concerned. Let’s not pull any punches. Because Jackson is walks and talks with an undeniable Southern Blackness, because his speed when he toting the rock is sick like Mike Vick, because his elusiveness when the pocket breaks down is on some back robotic, futuristic, George Jetson, crazy brand new flava in year on every stylistic level, all of a sudden, he can’t play QB in the NFL. So now his best hope is to switch to a receiver, a position that he’s never played?
Ya’ll gonna have to miss me with that one.
Was Johnny Manziel asked to work out as a receiver? Baker Mayfield? Was Christian McCaffrey asked to sitch to defensive back? Jesus Christ!!! Tim Tebow wasn’t asked about trying to play tight end until it was apparent that his passes quacked like an early morning Donald Trump Tweet.
On most draft boards, at least those with some inherent intelligence and due diligence, Jackson is an undeniable first- or second-round prospect as a damn quarterback.
Anyone suggesting that he play any other position is stuck in some racist time warp, where scouts told Warren Moon, a future Hall of Famer, that he’d never play QB in the NFL, forcing him to prove his worth in Canada.
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The success of Donovan McNabb,Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and so many others over the years have disproved the silly reservations and antiquated notions about Black quarterbacks that can also run, and the capacity that they have to be respected leaders of their units.
Jacksonville, like Michael Corleone told Fredo, “you’re nothing to me now.” And that goes for every other franchise whose think-tank is of similar ilk.
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Lamar Jackson a wide receiver? Child, please. How about telling Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, Jr. to switch to quarterback. Do you feel and see how stupid that sounds?
It was a once held rampant belief that Black men were not smart or good enough to play QB in the NFL. It was discredited long ago. Some obviously still haven’t gotten the memo.