It’s not uncommon for teams to fall in love with their first round picks in June. That certainly applies to the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson.
Joe Flacco is still the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, but he certainly hasn’t captured the attention of teammates like rookie Lamar Jackson. Teammates are gushing about the former Louisville quarterbacks electric speed on the practice field.
Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley compares Jackson to “a young Michael Vick” when he gets outside of the pocket. Vick, of course, revolutionized the quarterback position with his ability to make plays with his legs. Injuries and poor judgment cost Vick the chance to reach his full potential, but his impact on the NFL is undeniable.
Of course, a lot is going to need to go right in Jackson’s development to become as good a player as Vick was for the Falcons. First, he’ll need to learn to make quality decisions in the pocket. Vick excelled out on the perimeter, but he was more than adequate when he set his feet and delivered the football with accuracy.
Jackson didn’t show the ability to do that on a consistent basis in college. It’s something that can be fixed with quality coaching, but its’ not a change Ravens fans should expect to see overnight.
The good news is Jackson is absolutely the real deal out on the edge. Rumors of his top-notch speed are not an exaggeration. He’s a threat to take the ball to the house every time he touches it. That’s precisely why Baltimore’s offensive coaches are trying to devise new schemes to get the ball in his hands this season.
The real question about Jackson is when he’s going to be able to overtake Flacco for the starting quarterback job. Baltimore coaches insist that Flacco is still going to lead the offense in 2018. That could easily change if the team gets off to a slow start. The Ravens finished with the 27th ranked offense in 2017 last year. They cannot afford to struggle so much offensively this year if they intend to return to the playoffs.
Jackson may look like Michael Vick in practice, but he has a long way to go before he performs at that level in games. He’s still more potential than player at this point in his young career.