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7 reasons the Ravens should be excited about drafting QB Lamar Jackson

The former Heisman Trophy winner will bring his electric play to the pro level.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson had to wait a little longer than expected, but the quarterback came off the board at the end of the first round. On Thursday night, the Ravens traded up to select Jackson with the No. 32 pick of the NFL Draft.

The Ravens traded a second-round pick (No. 52) and a fourth-rounder (No. 125), as well as a 2019 second-rounder, to the Eagles for the first-round pick and the No. 132 pick. In doing so, they landed the most electrifying player in the draft.

Jackson had one of the most prolific careers of any quarterback coming out of college into this year’s draft. He won a Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, collecting yards and touchdowns on the ground and through the air like Pac-Man does Pac-Dots. He was a machine.

Some people unreasonably tried to say Jackson needed to play wide receiver in the NFL. But his quest as an NFL quarterback will go on, and this is why fans should be excited for him.

1. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the entire draft

Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Rosen — those are the names that you’ve heard non-stop throughout the process leading up to the draft. But none of them shined like Jackson did in college, and the numbers will tell you that.

In Jackson’s Heisman Trophy-winning 2016 season, he threw for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. On the ground, he added 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging six yards per carry.

He continued that production in 2017, showing he was no flash in the pan. He threw for 3,660 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 10 picks, as well as 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. For a quarterback, there’s nothing he couldn’t do on the field.

2. He can throw, despite what some might tell you

A wise man (SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner) once said, “Friends shouldn’t let friends say Lamar Jackson can’t throw.” Which couldn’t be more true.

The idea he can’t pass is something critics try to hold against him, but in reality, it’s far from the truth.

Here’s a couple of minutes of Jackson slinging touchdown passes of 20 or more yards:

They aren’t dumpoff passes, either. These are throws you’d want to see your NFL quarterback make, and he proved time and again he can do so. That’s also with receivers who had drop issues at Louisville.

3. Jackson will hurdle you

Hurdling has become pretty commonplace among running backs in the NFL (and sometimes wide receivers). But this is a quarterback we’re talking about here:

It might not be that easy in the NFL, but it can be done.

4. He’s incredibly stylish, and we might see plenty of pregame outfits

It’s not often that with the Heisman Trophy ceremony, we get to marvel at the outfit of the winner. But we did that with Jackson.

Jackson wore an incredible suit jacket with a black bow tie and white polka dots as he won college football’s most prestigious award. Some NFL evaluators might say this is sharp decision making:

And it was an efficient look, too. He got the suit jacket for $90 at Macy’s. And of course, he was thinking about the team.

“Well you know it’s our team color,” the former Louisville QB said at the ceremony. “I just like the way it looked, and I like the way it felt, so I just went with it.”

5. He will make you regret saying you’ll stop him

Talking about how you’re going to stop Lamar Jackson? Probably not a good idea. UNC linebacker Andre Smith learned the hard way, after he said this:

“We definitely don’t want it to be the Lamar Jackson show. So if he’s able to beat us with his arm, then – well, he’s not going to beat us at all. I take that back. He’s not going to beat us. We’re just going to stop anything that he tries to do.

“He’s not going to be able to run on us, we have everything solidified with that, and we’ll cover downfield and if the receiver’s going to make a good play, like they did on Saturday here, Cal, then, I mean, it is what it is. We’ve got to come back next play and do the same thing.”

Well, Jackson ended up throwing for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and he also ran for 132 more, and ran for three more touchdowns as well. All a piece of cake in a 47-35 win for Jackson and the men in candy red helmets.

Here is one of the six scores that Jackson had a hand in from that game:

And well, at that point:

Jackson is pretty good, or something like that:


In September 2016, Vick told the Courier Journal, “He’s throwing touchdowns. You’re getting them through the air; you’re getting them on the ground. He’s making guys miss. He’s elusive. That’s everything I was.”

Then a few days later, gave one hell of a ringing endorsement:

7. A promise

Jackson probably won’t start this year, not with Joe Flacco still on the roster, but he’s got a good shot at being Baltimore’s quarterback of the future. He’s confident he can deliver, too:

Get excited.