The Baltimore Ravens may be viewing Lamar Jackson as their future, but it doesn’t sound as though they intend to wait to get him onto the field in some capacity, even with Joe Flacco still entrenched as the starter. The team traded back into the end of the first round to take the Louisville quarterback.
It’s an understandable position. Even if the Ravens might have missed the playoffs three years in a row, they don’t view themselves as a team that is rebuilding—in fact, they probably feel that they’ve accomplished that this offseason after swapping in five new receivers and a pair of tight ends.
Head Coach John Harbaugh already spent time praising Jackson’s accuracy during his time on the field in rookie minicamp. When asked about how they will devise a plan to get their rookie onto the field, he said, “we do it in the laboratory”.
And by that he means the practice field. “We ran a lot of stuff out here today you guys probably saw”, the head coach said back during the minicamp. “We’re going to always try to get our players making plays for us, and Lamar is a guy that can help us win games”.
An article on the team’s website divulged, while intentionally avoiding specific details, that Jackson was used “in a variety of different ways” during rookie minicamp on Sunday in a session that was open to the media. Needless to say, this only opens up speculation about what those plans might be.
Is it possible that they are considering utilizing him in an offensive role other than quarterback—say, taking some snaps at wide receiver, as Kordell Stewart did in his first couple of seasons before he became the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback?
Jackson was so adamant heading into the draft that he was a quarterback and only a quarterback that he even refused to participate in certain events that might tempt teams to evaluate him as a player candidate for another position, which is why he did not run the 40-yard dash.
With that said, there is no denying that the Louisville product was a very prolific runner. I saw a statistic recently that pointed out Jackson recorded more rushing yards during his college career than all but one of the 18 running backs drafted in the first round over the course of the past 10 years.
During his three seasons, he rushed 655 times for 4132 yards. 50 of those rushes found the end zone. It’s understandable that the Ravens would be tempted to get that sort of productivity on the field in some form or fashion even if he is not quite ready to be a full-time starting quarterback.
One of the reasons that Ravens were intrigued by Jackson is because they have three members on their coaching staff that have found success working with mobile quarterbacks earlier in their career. Marty Mornhinweg and James Urban both worked with Mike Vick with the Eagles, while Greg Roman was Colin Kaepernick’s offensive coordinator in San Francisco.