Lamar Jackson is the future of the Baltimore Ravens franchise, whether that comes sooner or later. I’m pretty sure no team ever drafted a quarterback in the first round without expecting him at some point to become their starter, even if the plan was for him to sit a while and learn.
The Heisman Trophy winner was selected 32nd-overall by the Ravens after they traded back into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft back in April. Baltimore of course still has Joe Flacco under center, who has a Super Bowl MVP trophy, as well as Robert Griffin III, a former second-overall draft pick.
If you’re willing to listen to video games, then Madden NFL 19 seems to think that Jackson will already be better than Flacco in 2018. As the Baltimore Sun pointed out recently, EA Sports posted an article a few days ago in which they ranked the top five rookie quarterbacks based on their rating in the game, which will not be released for another month.
Jackson was second among those quarterbacks with a rating of 79.
“Lamar Jackson could be the most interesting QB to play as in Madden 19. If you sim a lot of games in Franchise, he’s likely not the best pick at the moment. But holy hell, his base ratings make him fun”, the entry reads. “The stud athlete clocks a 91 Speed, making him not only the fastest QB in the game, but the only one who breaks 90 in that category”.
“He also sports a 93 Ball Carrier Vision, an 86 Spin, 89 Juke, and 94 Throw Power. His accuracy scores (83 Short, 80 Mid, 74 Deep) can lead to some wild throws, but his running scores can also lead to several easy first downs after escaping the pocket. Watch out for this one”.
The Sun article also points to an earlier YouTube video that demonstrates some early game footage of player menus, which was posted several weeks ago. At one point in the video, you can see the Ravens’ quarterbacks, and Flacco has a rating of 77.
Of course Jackson also had a rating of just 67 at the time. They raised his rating significantly since that video was published, so it’s conceivable that Flacco’s grade could have changed as well, but honestly, the odds of it having gone up seems pretty unlikely.
I hope it goes without saying that I’m not actually suggesting that the real world will play out as a video game manufacturer decides that it will. But the fact of the matter is that the ratings are based on actual analysis.
From this we at least can infer that they expect Jackson to be a better quarterback fairly early on—or rather, I should say a better player. It’s worth noting that the Ravens have been open about wanting to use him in other ways while he is not in the starting lineup.