For awhile, it appeared as though the story about former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson playing wide receiver in the NFL died a painfully slow death, but it has resurfaced again Monday in a Bleacher Report column.
But BR writer Master Tesfatsion didn’t argue Jackson should move to receive. Actually, he asserted quite the opposite, even saying the NFL needs to “ditch the racially coded language” of Jackson changing positions.
Lamar Jackson isn’t a wide receiver. Not even close.
A Heisman Trophy winner who can effortlessly sling a pigskin 50 yards with the flick of the wrist while eluding a pass-rusher should not catch passes for a living.
Jackson should enter the NFL as a quarterback—and retire as one, too.
Yet some NFL pundits, former NFL general manager Bill Polian chief among them, say the former Louisville quarterback is better suited as a pro wide receiver, even if he didn’t record a catch in college. The topic was one of the biggest stories out of the NFL Scouting Combine when NFL Network reported “multiple teams” requested Jackson test at the position. The 21-year-old said a team didn’t specifically ask him to work out at wide receiver, stating he’s “strictly [a] quarterback.”
An NFC Scout that Tesfatsion spoke with shared the same sentiment:
“His tape speaks volumes, but staffs can’t see beyond their biases. He’s black and athletic. Bias tells you he has to prove to you that he is smart enough. And if he can’t, he’s more valuable somewhere else because he’s athletic. Lamar has to be twice as good, both mentally and physically. And he still can get Deshaun Watson’ed.”
There now appears to be more analysts and writers advocating for Jackson than people who agree with Polian’s hot take from February. But until this ‘bias’ against black quarterbacks in the NFL changes, this is still going to be a hot-button topic and should only gain more legs gain in the month leading up to the draft.
Jackson did absolutely everything in college, winning the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2016 and then just about repeating his stat line as a junior in 2017. He finished third in the Heisman voting last fall behind Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Stanford running back Bryce Love.
Last season, Jackson threw for 3,660 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt and completing 59.1 percent of his passes. He also threw for 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Furthermore, Jackson added 1,601 rushing yards and 18 more touchdowns on the ground. He incredibly accounted for 96 total touchdowns over the last two seasons combined.