Rookie Rundown: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Rookie Rundown: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

(Mark Zerof, USA TODAY Sports)

Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is an explosive but polarizing draft prospect. His electric playmaking skills will endear him to a fan base, but concerns about durability and and a lack of accuracy could make him a frustrating fantasy play for years to come.

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 200 pounds
40 time: N/A (didn’t run at combine or pro day)

While Jackson did not participate in any measurable drills at the NFL Scouting Combine or the Louisville pro day, he displayed his talents in positional drills. No official 40-yard dash was recorded, but there isn’t a doubt he is fast.

Jackson went where in our mock draft?

Jackson flat out dominated the ACC in 2016, finishing with 21 rushing scores and 1,571 ground gains. He spun it for 3,543 and another 30 touchdowns with only nine picks.

Lamar Jackson stats (2015-17)

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
LNG
INT
RUSH ATT
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2015
135
247
54.7
1840
7.4
12
56
8
163
960
5.9
73
11
2016
230
409
56.2
3543
8.7
30
74
9
260
1571
6.0
72
21
2017
254
430
59.1
3660
8.5
27
78
10
232
1601
6.9
75
18

As a junior, he finished third in Heisman voting. Jackson would complete the season with a personal-best 1,609 rushing yards. He added 18 ground scores and threw 27 more. It is no wonder he draws so many on-field comparisons to Michael Vick.

Pros

  • Explosive weapon who can score each time the ball is in his hands (10 TDs of at least 40 rushing yards in his career)
  • Dynamic in the open field as an exceptional athlete
  • Plus arm strength and throws a nice spiral
  • Uncanny improvisational skills to create something from nothing
  • Brings a defensive scheming element few players can offer — always needs a spy and forces defenders to pick their poison in a split second
  • Surprisingly willing to accept when a play isn’t available
  • Showed improvement as a passer in 2017
  • Superstar potential if properly developed

Cons

  • Thin frame with skinny lower body
  • Running as much as he does increases injury liability
  • Limited understanding of passing progressions
  • Questionable decision-making
  • Routinely inaccurate and displays little consistency in application of touch. Ball placement is a problem while on the move.
  • Too many batted passes
  • Only 8.4 percent of his 2017 drop-backs came from under center
  • Openly against moving to a different position. May have to be willing to entertain the idea down the line.
  • High bust factor

Fantasy outlook

Jackson is no where near being ready to shine in the NFL, even though he likely will be selected in Round 1. In the right situation, Jackson could develop into a viable NFL passer whose legs separate him from some of his deficiencies. In the best-case scenario for long-term growth, Jackson is drafted by a team with an offense tailored to his skill set (run-pass options, spread system) and a quarterback able to teach him for a few seasons.

Teams with the greatest combination of need and possible desire include the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.

From a fantasy perspective, exclude Jackson from 2017 draft plans, unless he outright wins a job in training camp. In that event, consider him a fringe backup addition and keep expectations at a minimum.

THE LATEST

More Huddle
Home