•   
  •   
  •   

Sport Opinion: Lamar Jackson is embarrassing the NFL's scouting process like few before him

18:21  09 january  2020
18:21  09 january  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Opinion: From Lamar Jackson to Antonio Brown, highlighting best and worst of 2019 NFL season

  Opinion: From Lamar Jackson to Antonio Brown, highlighting best and worst of 2019 NFL season Lamar Jackson, Antonio Brown, the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns, and Andrew Luck's retirement figure prominently as we recap 2019 in the NFL.

We don’t know how fast the fastest — and this season, the best — quarterback in the NFL might be. That’s because Lamar Jackson never sprinted 40 yards at the NFL Combine. He didn’t do any drills at his pro day. He only threw passes.

a man wearing a costume: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson works out prior to an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)© Nick Wass, AP Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson works out prior to an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

And he did that to make a point.

“I’m strictly a quarterback,” Jackson said at the time.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

It struck a nerve with Jackson. Of course, it did. It always has. This notion that a quarterback good enough to win the Heisman Trophy at Louisville might be better off playing wide receiver always was misguided at best and insulting at worst.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17

  10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17 A Week 17 with plenty of playoff implications opened the door for plenty of disappointment around the league.Here are ten big disappointments from the final week of the NFL season.

But from the looks of how it is playing out in Baltimore, Jackson is going to continue to embarrass the NFL’s scouting process in a way that few players before him have been able.

By selecting Jackson anyway with the final pick of the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, the Ravens added a player good enough to make them a title contender in his second season. He’s the NFL’s presumptive MVP and a terrifying dual-threat challenge Saturday night (7:15 p.m., CBS) for the Titans, so much that he has dominated interview topics around the team this week.

a man running on a baseball field: QUARTERBACK — Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens© Rich Barnes, USA TODAY Sports QUARTERBACK — Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Titans coach Mike Vrabel has told his players that when Jackson has the football all 11 defenders should consider themselves “at the point of attack.”

Bill Belichick dodges questions about Tom Brady's future with Patriots

  Bill Belichick dodges questions about Tom Brady's future with Patriots Belichick went into full Belichick mode when it came to reporters' questions about his future and that of his QB.Belichick spoke with the media on Sunday for his end-of-season press conference, and he was asked several questions about whether or not Brady will be back with the Patriots in 2020. He noted that it had only been 12 hours since the team lost to the Tennessee Titans and said no one is thinking about the future yet. Belichick also would not say whether he plans to coach next season.

“There’s a designed play and then he just is like, ‘I’ll go make a play,’” Vrabel said.

In that way, Jackson is a quarterback the likes of which the NFL has not seen. You can throw out comparisons like Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham, but no one really comes close to Jackson’s elusiveness and running ability. And he can throw it, too, better than he gets credit.

To watch Jackson is to realize he’s doing things that you haven’t seen before from a quarterback and might not again.

All of pro football, it seems, has just recently discovered this.

And I still wonder why.

“Everybody who watched him play in college and were Louisville fans, they’re not surprised,” said Titans running back Dalyn Dawkins, a Louisville-area native.

The first round of the 2018 NFL draft was a bit of a painful viewing experience for someone who’d helped cover Jackson’s college career while at the Louisville Courier-Journal. I watched the picks come off the board while Jackson waited, believing that nearly every NFL team was making a mistake by not picking him.

NFL divisional round intriguing matchups, QB intel reports

  NFL divisional round intriguing matchups, QB intel reports Yardbarker's Sam Robinson examines key matchups and more in playoff games Saturday and Sunday.NFL playoff schedule

Four other quarterbacks were among the top 10 picks. Hey, the Titans had their shot at No. 22 and didn’t take Jackson. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin attended Louisville’s pro day and stood steps away from Jackson as he threw passes, but Pittsburgh passed on him at No. 28.

The Ravens passed on him, actually, too, selecting tight end Hayden Hurst seven spots before trading up to land Jackson.

Lucky them.

“I think we just took it in total — the skill-set, the personality, the football acumen, what we pictured that we could build with him — all those things,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week.

A star player being drafted too low is a common story in the NFL, the league that once allowed Tom Brady to fall into the sixth round.

Yardbarker's NFL divisional round previews, picks

  Yardbarker's NFL divisional round previews, picks The divisional round features the league's four best rushing teams and four elite quarterbacks. Yardbarker's Chris Mueller previews the Saturday and Sunday matchups.Elite quarterback battles are also featured: Houston's Deshaun Watson aims for a second win this season over Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson hopes to lead the depleted Seahawks over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Everything that’s being said now about Jackson was being said years ago. He was close to unstoppable at Louisville, nearly beating Deshaun Watson’s national champion Clemson team in 2016.

How in the world were four quarterbacks taken ahead of this guy in the first round? Better yet, why did people — experienced football people — keep mentioning other positions?

That one goes back to high school. As a (relatively overlooked) prospect near Miami, Jackson was widely recruited as a defensive back. He told me once that Georgia’s defensive coordinator called and asked about him playing safety. The Bulldogs’ coordinator at the time would have been current Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt.

To each school that inquired about defense, Jackson said no thank you and crossed it off his list.

The NFL should have known better, though, after what Jackson did at Louisville. It’s just the league didn’t know what to make of him.

He was such an outlier in a highly risk-averse, conformist league filled with franchises that tend to avoid high-stakes gambles, especially with first-round draft picks. And Jackson wasn’t a sure thing. On the field, his accuracy was continually called into question (despite the fact that Josh Allen – the No. 7 pick – was less accurate as a passer in college). There was also the typical durability fears for a quarterback who ran so much and tempted injury.

Jackson vs. Henry: Who poses the bigger challenge?

  Jackson vs. Henry: Who poses the bigger challenge? Defenses know they’re coming, they know what they’re going to do, and there’s still little they can do to stop Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson.“He’s from Mars,” Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. “He’s definitely an outer-space guy.

Coaches and teams married to their own quarterbacks or their own systems probably didn’t see Jackson as a fit. After all, he goes off the script. Coaches who spend countless hours developing the script might not like that unpredictability.

Off the field, Jackson never liked the media spotlight and attention. He didn’t train with some quarterback guru before the draft. He didn’t even hire an agent, instead having his mother serve as his manager.

NFL teams seemingly kept finding reasons not to take Jackson, in the process ignoring the ridiculous play-making ability he'd already demonstrated in college.

The Ravens were all in, though. They committed to what they’re doing now. They dumped Joe Flacco to make it a reality, allowing Jackson to instantly put them ahead of so many other NFL teams by doing it.

But it’s not the Ravens’ offensive system that has dominated the NFL this season.

It’s Jackson.

And with a spot in the AFC Championship game on the line, the Titans are going to have to figure out a way to slow him down.

Reach Gentry Estes at gestes@tennessean.com and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Opinion: Lamar Jackson is embarrassing the NFL's scouting process like few before him

Brady sparks Raiders rumors by chatting with Davis at UFC fight .
A simple conversation set off a firestorm of speculation.Brady attended Conor McGregor’s 40-second thrashing of Cowboy Cerrone in Las Vegas, and NFL fans went wild on social media after the 42-year-old was spotted chatting with Raiders owner Mark Davis.

Topical videos:

usr: 0
This is interesting!