Lamar Jackson Is Getting Major NFL Mock Draft Disrespect

    Louisville’s electrifying QB Lamar Jackson is a lethal weapon, but draft experts with a sports media giant driving their credibility and the ear of the casual listener at their disposal are out here labeling him a suspect soldier. The picking apart of the highly-touted mobile Black quarterback’s NFL worthiness has begun. It seems like we just went through this in the 2017 Draft with Deshaun Watson. 

    Mel Kiper s 2018 Mock Draft 1.0 was released and Kiper has Josh Allen going No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, Josh Rosen going No. 2 to the Giants and USC sharp shooter Sam Darnold figuring in as a Top 5 pick as well. 

    Mel Kiper Jr. on Twitter

    Mock Draft 1.0 is live. https://t.co/Nnt35fajBD

    Mel Kiper reasons  that Allen finished the season stronger than Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, which propelled him to be his projected top pick. Draft expert Todd McShay says if Darnold doesnt return to USC he is going to go No. 1. He also has Rosen, who he calls the drafts best pure passer, going to the Giants. McShay has Allen going No. 5 to Denver and his big riser is Oklahoma’s Crotch-grabbing baller Baker Mayfield who has improved as a pocket passer and his ability to create and extend plays makes him a wild card. Kiper sees Mayfield as a Top 15 pick and rising. 

    mark on Twitter

    Todd McShay 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills pass on Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson https://t.co/L5tolznFDE

    The notable snub among the two draft experts is Lamar Jackson of Louisville. The former Heisman winner’s stock has dropped since he won the honor as a freshman, despite the fact that he had a better season in 2017 than in the previous year. In fact, Kiper didnt even have Jackson going in the first-round of his mock draft. The 2017 Heisman trophy finalist is currently not ranked in Todd McShays Top 5 Draft Eligible QB rankings either and is not mentioned in the first round of his first mock draft.

    LeadingNFL on Twitter

    Mel Kiper Jr’s 2018 Mock Draft 1.0 (via @AdamSchefter)

    Jackson seems to be a victim of the dual QB curse. It is the same prejudice that saw DeShaun Watson unfathomably drop in the 2017 Draft and be picked after Mitchell Trubisky. We saw what Watson did once he hit the field. He dismissed all of the draft haters and misguided expert analysis and was on his way to one of the best rookie seasons in history before he hurt himself in a non contact drill and ended his season. 

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    Deshaun Watson put on the burners! #HOUvsCIN https://t.co/72EJioHUi0

    Jacksons talent is undeniable. Even the great Michael Vick said Jackson is one player who comes to mind that most resembles his style and skill.  

    “If Ive ever seen another guy that looks like me, its been Lamar Jackson,” Vick said. .

    After becoming the No. 1 draft pick in 2001, Vick’s speed and potent arm had a huge impact on the evolution of the NFL quarterback during his 13-year career.  Jackson has a similar skill set, but NFL Draft analysts are faking the funk on this rare talent.  

    Lamar Jackson “No Smoke” Mix

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    The football world is very fickle around this time of the year. On field accomplishments fall victim to Draft Combine scores, measurements and projections. Seems as if the teams and scouts are split on this guy. There has been a hyperfocus on Jackson’s throwing accuracy, which is a typical concern that NFL teams express about African-American QBs who are also very mobile. Some folks love Jackson and see him succeeding in the NFL. Count Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palozzolo has Jackson going No. 6 to the Jets in his second Mock Draft of 2018. 

    “The opinions on Jackson vary around the league,” Palozzolo wrote, “but hes a capable passer with outstanding, next-level athleticism, as evidenced by his top rushing grade among quarterbacks in each of the last two seasons. While his down-to-down accuracy needs work, hes capable of making tight-window NFL throws, and that skill combined with his running ability should give offensive coordinators more than enough to build around.”

    One anonymous ACC coach, however, told Sports Illustrated in January that Jackson has “no shot” at playing quarterback in the NFL.

    Jackson landed at No. 17 in Dan Kadars latest mock draft four spots ahead of Allen who Kiper picked No. 1, showing that there are many, many varying opinions on Jacksons viability as an NFL passer.

    “His sophomore year was historic, was great, was exciting, but whether or not he gets drafted will be because of what he does as a junior, ” said Dane Brugler, analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, whose site ranks Jackson the No. 5 QB prospect for 2018. “The NFL scouts are going to want to see, OK, we know what you can do. But now can you get better? Whats your development not only with the passing game but mentally?’ Is he able to read coverages, be more accurate with the football?”

    Jacksons numbers dont lie and he has a highlight reel as a playmaker that is comparable to any position player in the country. He is considered the most talented player at the QB position in years, but he is also the player that will be analyzed, criticized, poked and probed more than any other draft pick. In 2016, Jackson totaled 1,571 rushing yards, 21 rushing TDs, 3,543 Passing yards, and 30 Passing TDs. Jackson followed that year with 3,489 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, to go along with 1,443 yards on the ground and 17 rushing touchdowns this past season.  

    Lamar Jackson Mix – Bank Account – HD

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    So whats the problem with all of these Draft experts saying Jacksons not first-round material and elevating guys like Allen whose game has more question marks and generally played lesser competition? 

    Hate to think that black quarterbacks are still being discriminated against because I thought we were past that. But if the only reason these draft guys are excluding Jackson from the elite QB parade is because his game resembles RG3 and RG3 didnt last long in the NFL, then they need to have their heads reexamined.  

    Youd think these guys learned their lesson last year when they passed on Watson and belittled his legendary college career as if he couldnt do damage at the pro level. 

    If Im Jackson, I’m a little ticked off, but I’m not sweating it. Watson told dudes last year that whoever didnt draft him would pay and he was kicking ass and taking names in his rookie season. Sometimes a chip on your shoulder is good to have. Jackson will get his shot to prove his worth and if he has to be a third-round pick like Russell Wilson and watch all of those other guys get drafted before him, he will still get a shot to prove to every team that passes on him that they made a grave mistake. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.