The NFL Scouting Combine is coming up starting next week, and there are going to be a multitude of players in Indy, who are going to be looked over and talked to, by the 32 NFL teams. And in some cases, a player may be asked about and even to try, to work at a different position.
This is not original or even new, especially, as it relates to quarterbacks. In the past 15-20 years, QB’s like Eric Crouch of Nebraska (Heisman), Tim Tebow of the Gators (also Heisman), and even, Nick Marshall (led Auburn to the BCS Title Game 2013), have been told that they should consider receiver or defensive back, etc.
Crouch chose to take the advice and try to play some receiver and never did much in the NFL. Tebow did not switch, was drafted in the first round by the Broncos and became a lightning rod of criticism in the NFL. And, Marshall tried to play DB, but never amounted to anything after the SEC.
Now, we get to what has really become a silly manufactured debate this week about Louisville’s QB Lamar Jackson, and that very point: playing a different position at the next level.
First, Jackson, who was a “four star” quarterback at Boynton Beach High School before he ever got to Louisville, has been very impressive in college. Throwing the ball! Yes, his completion percentage is a little low at 57% for his career, but he threw for over 7,000 yards in his final two seasons. Oh, and he also threw for 57 touchdowns in those final two years, too.
In addition to wining his own Heisman two years ago, he’s been the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in those last two season, also.
And this doesn’t even take into account, his two 1,500+ yard rushing seasons and 39 more rushing TDs that Jackson has put up.
He’s demonstrated, in a power conference, he can play QB.
So, when ESPN’s analyst, Bill Polian, who used to be the Colts GM and was also with the Bills and a couple other teams as talent evaluator, said earlier this week that Jackson should consider switching to receiver for the Combine and beyond, many eyebrows raised.
Polian made the comments first on the “Golic and Wingo” ESPN Radio show Monday morning. ”Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.”
The “other guys” are top QB prospects, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, etc.
Polian also went on ESPN TV later in the day and repeated the comments that he should work out at wide receiver for teams coming up. He even compared Jackson to Terrell Pryor of Ohio State, who gave up trying to be a QB and has switched to WR.
However, this is where anyone who has seen both of those two play, and throw the ball in big time college football has the right to “laugh Polian out of the room.”
Seriously, anyone who’s watched Jackson, even once, with touch, downfield zip on the ball, etc. could see he’s better than the “shot put” style throwing Pryor appeared with the Buckeyes.
Polian continued to make embarrassing comments like “short and a little bit slight” as another knock against him. Jackson has been listed by Lousiville the last two years at 6’3, and we’ll see what the official height measurement is at the Combine.
We’re not thinking, he’s “short,” though.
Look, we don’t know if he will go in the first round, but he’s got some Michael Vick and even RGIII type mobility and deep ball capability that should excite a lot of teams.
Maybe, the Jaguars will be interested at the bottom of the first round in April.
One of his staunch supporters is former NFL scout- turned NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. He scoffed Wednesday night on “NFL Total Access” about the notion of Jackson having to switch to be drafted or succeed:
— NFL (@NFL) February 22, 2018
We love the, “I look forward to playing against ya” line from Jeremiah. That is the right approach with teams. Be professional. Take the high road.
Let your play on tape from college speak for you. Tell them you are anxious to make those same plays for a new team.
Lamar Jackson doesn’t have to switch like Crouch, Marshall or even Pryor did.
His is a QB and it’s his best bet to stick in the NFL.
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