While playing for the Louisville Cardinals, Lamar Jackson passed for a total of 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns, and he ran for 4,312 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons.
Now a first round selection for the Baltimore Ravens, he has the ability to produce on offense immediately as a rookie. Though the starting quarterback position belongs to ten-year veteran Joe Flacco, Jackson still has the opportunity to make an impact on Baltimore’s offense.
As a quarterback, Jackson can use his blazing fast speed and agility to move around in and outside of the pocket to pass the ball. With his exceptionally powerful arm, he can toss the ball with high velocity.
In this 75-yard pass to Jaylen Smith against North Carolina, Jackson evades the defense’s pressure and uses his arm to hit his target with precision.
Baltimore has run the Wildcat formation with Troy Smith and Tyrod Taylor in the past. However, neither possessed the pure speed that Jackson holds. Though fans should not expect to see Jackson line up behind Flacco in the backfield to take a carry, Jackson could be used in jet sweeps and end arounds like many other slot receivers.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick believes that Jackson could be used as a hybrid out of the backfield in the passing game.
“If they’re gonna get him on the field at all at a position outside of quarterback, maybe this is where they use him as a hybrid type of player,” said Riddick of using Jackson in the passing game. “Let him get the ball in his hands out of the backfield on some bubble screens, on some flare screens, but I just wouldn’t want to subject him to too much punishment because they didn’t draft him to be a ‘slash’. They drafted him to be a quarterback. So, I know they’re doing this right now. I just don’t see that being a big part of their plan at all. This is where [quarterback] he is going to play.”
If Baltimore can find a way to utilize Jackson’s arm, rushing ability or potential as a receiver out of the backfield, they will be able to maximize his talent while he waits for his turn to take over the starting role. However, he’s a quarterback first and foremost. If he does get the chance to play the position this season, then it would not be a surprise for Baltimore to never look back.