OT: Lamar Jackson declares for NFL

Submitted by Magnus on January 5th, 2018 at 10:26 AM

Louisville QB Lamar Jackson declared for the NFL Draft early. I'm very curious to see how he does at the next level. His stats this year:

59.1% completions, 3660 yards, 8.5 YPA, 27 TD, 10 INT
232 carries, 1601 yards, 6.9 YPC, 18 TD

Is he Cam Newton, DeShaun Watson, Michael Vick, Pat White, or someone else? He reminds me of Vick more than anyone. I think he'll have a decent career, but I'm not sure if he can pass well enough to be a superstar NFL player who takes his team to the next level.

Comments

Sopwith

January 5th, 2018 at 10:30 AM ^

but he's no Wes Welker, I can tell you that.

Lacks grit, probably not a coach's kid, and I've never seen him take a lunchpail to work.

Other than that, I'm sure an athelete like that can find a place on the field somewhere.

Sopwith

January 5th, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

it only works for non-white athletes, amirite? 

I kid, I kid. I'm sure LJ has a fine lunchpail and brings it to work all the time. It probably has those little "lunchable" packages and fruit roll-ups, maybe a Capri Sun to wash it down with. At least that's how I remember lunches from home looking. It's been a while.

corundum

January 5th, 2018 at 10:46 AM ^

I don't think they are great comparisons. Russell Wilson has an NFL arm and can make all the throws. Jackson doesn't have the arm strength and moreso lacks Wilson's downfield accuracy. Yes, they are both mobile, but Jackson is an electric runner while Wilson evades to throw.

Basically Jackson is the better runner and Wilson is the better passer. They are not comparable prospects.

My name ... is Tim

January 5th, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

I'm not sure arm strength is the issue. Dude casually chucked a 65 yard hail mary at the end of his bowl game while running out of bounds. But I agree re: downfield accuracy. That's why I think Magnus' initial Vick comparison is probably the most apt. Though, I'm not sure we'll ever see someone with the agility/elusiveness of Vick at the QB position again.

Richard75

January 5th, 2018 at 11:22 AM ^

Wilson was the best pure passer in the country by the time he left Wisconsin. Jackson isn’t in his class as a thrower.

Wilson was completing 73% in a major conference and in a pro-style offense (i.e., no RPOs gifting him easy throws). His accuracy got overlooked a bit because of his mobility, but the only question with him was his height.

mgobaran

January 5th, 2018 at 11:35 AM ^

The Lions have needed to spend a 3rd round pick on a QB for years now. No team can sustain paying a QB as much money as we are paying Stafford and field a competitive team. Getting a QB to groom into the starter at half the price should be this teams first goal. 

2016/17 - Tom Brady ranked 18th in QB Salary
2015/16 - P. Manning ranked 6th
2014/15 - Brady ranked 11th
2013/14 - Russel Wilson ranked 52nd
2012/13 - Flacco ranked 16th
2011/12 - Eli Manning ranked 4th

History shows that not only the right QB is required to win Super Bowls, but at the right cost. Stafford is neither the correct QB and now he is the furthest thing from being at the right cost. Just look at this season, Only 3 of the top 10 highest paid QBs made the playoffs (Big Ben - 6th, Brady - 9th, Ryan - 10th).

GoBlueInNYC

January 5th, 2018 at 11:42 AM ^

How many teams are sunk by the fact that they can't find a functional QB? And you want the Lions' strategy to be "chase developmental QBs so we never have to pay for long term contracts?" That's insane.

The hugeness of Stafford's contract relative to the team salary cap will decrease as the cap is raised. It's pretty much a given that the next round of free agent QB contracts will surpass Stafford, as his mega contract eats up relatively smaller portions of an ever increasing salary cap.

mgobaran

January 5th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

It would be better for the organization and Stafford if he had viable competition. If you draft a QB and he doesn't work you draft another. Meanwhile we have a passable one. Stafford has been in the league for 10 years now and he hasn't had to compete with anyone. We haven't even had a guy who could functionally fill in if Stafford ever got hurt. 

We are stuck with the Stafford contract now. We should use this time to cheaply find his replacement, and if we find a QB who can compete, ship Stafford off and replace him at less cost and bring in more draft picks. 

GoBlueInNYC

January 5th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

Bringing in developmental QBs and seeing if they can be groomed is totally fine, and it's what Detroit is clearly trying to do with someone like Kaaya (Rudock seems more like a "develop into cheap back-up" type). Which is a good idea when you're talking about 6th+ round picks.

You don't spend 3rd round picks on QBs that you're going to have a tiny hit rate on (considering your stated "hit" is to find someone to displace Stafford). Especially if you're Detroit, and you've got much more serious roster deficiencies elsewhere, where that 3rd round pick could have a bigger and more immediate on-field impact.

I also suspect you and I have very different views as to how good Stafford is; I'm assuming you view Stafford as much more replaceable than I do from a quality standpoint, while I think replacing him with someone of equal or greater quality would be nigh-impossible in the current QB marketplace.

mgobaran

January 5th, 2018 at 1:14 PM ^

Bringing in those developmental QBs is not good enough. You need to develop a talented QB. Garoppolo was a 2nd round pick, Rodgers was taken late first, Dak was drafted 4th round to develop and was thrust into playing due to injury, Wilson was a third round guy brought in to develop and he beat out his competition. Cousins was a 4th round pick. Carr was a 2nd round pick.

Odds are that those late round guys will never turn into anything. There is a reason Brady is an anomoly. Normally guys who are taken in the first round don't get the chance to grow before being thrust into action underdeveloped just to be cast aside. Very few amount of teams are granted the ability to get a talented QB and groom them for the future. It's arguable that the Lions are in that spot.  

Stafford has all the talent in the world, but lacks the consistency to be a winner. The fact is other teams are doing more with less, so the step down in QB quality is evidently not as large as I believe you think it it. Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Jared Goff, Osweiler, Teddy Bridgewater have all won division championships in the past 3 years. And if you think any of them are better than Stafford, then Stafford is replaceable. 

QB is by far the most important role on the team. And the only franchise that puts exhaustive resources into the position is New England. And they don't do it by throwing the most money possible at their best QB in franchise history. They draft and draft and draft. Then they sell and restart. It blows my mind NFL organizations complain about the quality of QBs while doing absolutely nothing to develop them. 

GoBlueInNYC

January 5th, 2018 at 1:48 PM ^

Your examples of people like Jimmy G or Rodgers aren't the same as what you're advocating for the Lions. Brady and Favre needed replacements because they were getting old (ESPN's recent Pats profile claims that Belichick didn't want Jimmy traded explicitly because he's trying to plan for post-Brady). Stafford isn't even close to retirement age. Carr was also clearly drafted to be the starter, not to provide competition for an entrenched starter.

Wilson, Dak, and Cousins are really the only ones I would say kind of fit what you are actually advocating. And I say "kind of" because both Wilson and Cousins were brought in behind new starters who were definitely not established like Stafford and who didn't work out. So, I guess Dak is the best comparable, and even he didn't really beat out Romo as much as played great after Romo went down with injury.

So that's generously three out of...how many QBs drafted who didn't work out?

Plus, as far as cost is concerned (which was part of your original point), Cousins is an unique case, with his back-to-back franchise tags; it's widely accepted his contract will be bigger than Stafford's when he's finally allowed to sign a contract. And I don't even think Cousins is better than Stafford.

Bortles, Dalton, Osweiler, and Bridgewater are all easily worse than Stafford.

Prescott and Goff might end up being better than Stafford, but far too early in their careers to say (Prescott's sophomore campaign suggesting he might not quite live up to his rookie hype).

Keenum has had a weird career, and really could only possibly considered anywhere near Stafford's level, if you ignore the first five seasons of Keenum's career prior to the past few months.

And I would reiterate, that Detroit has plenty of roster needs, and that burning 3rd rounders on players that will never see meaningful playing time just so a top ten QB can have some competition would be overtly wasteful drafting strategy. Stafford has been playing at a high enough level for long enough that I seriously doubt the lack of competition is somehow hurting him.

EDIT: I should say, I do see the logic in what you're saying. I just think odds of hitting on a worthwhile QB is so low that it doesn't make sense to pursue it given: 1. Detroit has a good (in my opinion, top ten) QB in place, and 2. Detroit has other personnel issues that could more easily be addressed in the mid-rounds. But I do get what you're saying.

mgobaran

January 5th, 2018 at 1:54 PM ^

You and 25+ other NFL GMs think that way and it is proven to be wrong over and over. If the QB position is important, why put such few resources into it? Why do GMs only look for QBs when they don't have one? Could you imagine Harbaugh not taking a QB in a class because the year before he got a 4-year starter? And NE has done the Garappolo thing repeatedly throughout Brady's carreer. In the past 10 years they have drafted 4 QBs in the first three rounds (O'Connel, Mallett, Garoppolo, Brissett)

In return they have recieved a 7th Rd, 2nd Rd, and Phillip Dorsett. Not an amazing return, but more than the previous two Lions GMs ever got out of their 2nd round picks. I'm not saying do it ever single year, but we need QB talent on this roster. We need to be prepared for injury (short term and long). And if we ever get someone on a Garoppolo level, Stafford and that contract becomes expendable. 

And Cousins/Wilson are expensive now. But they have won things. 

corundum

January 5th, 2018 at 10:41 AM ^

He will definitely have to cut down on the turnovers to carve out a solid NFL career. Not only does he throw too many picks, he holds the ball away from his body when he gets outside of the pocket. NFL DEs will have a field day with that.

Michigan4Life

January 5th, 2018 at 10:57 AM ^

can definitely pass well enough to be a superstar.  He has fast mental processing and goes through the progression reads.  He carried a bad Louisville team to 8 wins and a bowl game appearance.

His footwork can use some cleaning up to do since he throws from a narrow base. Narrow base allowed it to sail the ball high on him.

He is the QB that many wanted Mike Vick to be. A pocket passer who is a dynamic athlete and can do damage with his legs. I think he'll succeed in the next level. He has improved every year as a QB and was even better this season than last season, the year he won the Heisman.

Some team will draft him at end of 1st to early 2nd round and will get a big time steal. He's a QB first and foremost.

Maize and Blue…

January 5th, 2018 at 4:00 PM ^

He throws way to many ill advised passes, makes to many bad decisions, and has fumbling issues that will only get worse in the NFL because of poor ball security.  He is also pretty thin and will get hammered in the NFL when he runs.  That's just my opinion though.

Perkis-Size Me

January 5th, 2018 at 10:57 AM ^

He's definitely a project, but he's got all the tools you'd want. Wouldn't be surprised to see someone pick him up in the late first round or early second round, have him sit behind a veteran for a year or two, and then he'd get his chance to start in 2019 or 2020. 

No idea how he'll do in the league when he gets there. I thought Cam Newton was going to be a huge bust and that didn't happen. I don't anyone expected DeShaun Watson to do as well as he did in the time he was given this season. And then by the same token, everyone thought Trent Richardson was guaranteed to be the next AP, and now he's a scrub in the CFL. 

The NFL is a total crapshoot. All I know is that I know nothing. 

1VaBlue1

January 5th, 2018 at 11:02 AM ^

I don't think he can throw the ball well enough to be an NFL QB.  Even if he can, he's got the reputation of being a runner.  And the NFL is nothing if it's not a plodding, stick to the stereotype, type of organization that regards innovation as a curse.  Some team will take him as a flyer, give him some read option type run plays, and get him destroyed in the open field.  Then they'll say something like 'well, we tried...' before burying him on the practice squad.

I wish him all the luck, he seems like a good person.  I just hope he gets a fair shot at whatever position he chooses to play.