Lamar Jackson has even more potential than Michael Vick did
Whether you like him or not Ravens fans, Lamar Jackson is appointment television when he’s on the football field.
Lamar Jackson could make the Baltimore Ravens the most exciting team in the NFL. This is a fairly bold statement for a team that heads into the NFL Draft with Willie Snead and Chris Moore as the best receivers on the roster. The fact of the matter is that Jackson is the most dynamic athlete on the field in a league where you almost have to be a Greek god like athlete to be employed.
Jackson constantly gets compared to Michael Vick. In 2001 Vick was a rookie quarterback who played in eight games and his athleticism was eye-popping. In eight games, Vick went 50-113 passing for 785 yards, two touchdowns and three picks while running for 289 yards. Jackson has played in seven regular season games and his statistics are as follows: 99-170 for 1,201 yards with six touchdowns and three picks. Jackson also rushed for 695 yards.
In the early 2000’s Vick was the flashiest player on the field and his highlight reel led SportsCenter telecasts on a fairly regular basis. Jackson is working at a rate that is more advanced than Vick. The Ravens have gotten a lot more attention since Jackson took Joe Flacco’s job. It’s because Jackson makes plays that are conversation starters. He is easily the flashiest player the Ravens have ever had.
While Jackson is still an unfinished product, he is more advanced than many analysts seem to think. He may be so good at running with the ball in his hands that his passing skills get over looked.
Rookie quarterbacks didn’t look great in 2018 if you take Baker Mayfield out of the equation. Jackson may have been running a make shift offense that wasn’t sustainable but he made some big time throws and some of his rushing attempts were unbelievable.
The NFL has had dual threat quarterbacks before. There has never been any one with this much potential. By the end of his career Jackson may not even be mentioned in the same breath as Vick. Jackson could become a far superior player.
The fact that Vick is the one comparison that sticks tells you everything. There hasn’t been many players like this. There have been scrambling quarterbacks like Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, Steve McNair and Donovan McNabb but Vick and Jackson are different. Vick and Jackson have speed that compares with the fastest wide receivers in the league and the rocket arms to go with it.
Vick became a much more nuanced passer at the later stages of his career. In the beginning he didn’t go through his progressions. Jackson tries to be a pocket passer and he goes through his progressions the best he can. It’s not his fault that his athletic ability is such a cheat code. Jackson is developing as a passer but he’s starting at a point that is much further along than the Jason Whitlock’s of the world would have you believe.
Jackson has all the exciting highlight making skills that Vick had but he’s better than Vick was at the same point in his career. Jackson has more potential than Vick had going into the 2002 season. Jackson is putting in the work this offseason and his pocket presence and his willingness to remain a passer are indicators that he gets what he has to become. Jackson is just getting started and his beginning is a lot more exciting than the pundits are willing to give him credit for.