Lamar Jackson stood at a podium at the NFL scouting combine and defiantly told everyone he would not play any position but quarterback. Clearly that was the right move, since the Baltimore Ravens drafted Jackson in the first round a couple months later.
But the idea that any team would want to move Jackson from quarterback to receiver was ludicrous and has lingered. Jackson was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and it was clear from his film that he was a much more refined pocket passer than many give him credit for. So what happened with the hysteria at the combine over a report that teams were asking him to run receiver drills?
Jackson clarified the issue on a podcast with the Ravens’ site. There was one team that told him they wanted him to do receiver drills: the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jackson was surprised at the request to do WR drills
Jackson said on the podcast that he was surprised when a Chargers scout came to him and asked him to do receiver drills.
“It was a Chargers scout, he was the one who told me about it,” Jackson said on the podcast, via John Breech of CBS Sports. “Like, he was the first one to come to me about it, and I’m like, ‘What?’ He caught me off guard with it. I even made a face for him like, ‘What?’
“I’m thinking he’s trying to be funny, but he kept going with it, so it just became blown out of proportion.”
Jackson, one of the most explosive athletes in recent college football history, didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine. It seemed at the time like a statement, that he wanted to be viewed as only a quarterback and didn’t need to run the 40 for that. Jackson admitted the interaction with the Chargers scout led to that decision.
Jackson’s decision to skip the 40 came from Chargers conversation
Jackson said he decided at the combine, after being asked about receiver drills, to not run the 40-yard dash. He declined to run the 40 even though it’s an event he would have presumably done very well at.
“He was like, ‘Oh, Lamar, you’re going to go out for some wide receiver routes?'” Jackson said on the Ravens podcast. “I’m like, ‘Nah, quarterback only.’ So that made me not run the 40 and participate in all that other stuff.”
What makes the whole ordeal with Jackson odd is that the Chargers would have been a good fit for Jackson, the quarterback. Philip Rivers will turn 37 years old in December. He won’t be around forever, and the Chargers probably need a new and bright star to help them get some momentum in the Los Angeles market.
But once the Chargers brought up the receiver possibility to Jackson, that was it.
Jackson doing well at QB for Ravens so far
We still have yet to see if Jackson will be a hit at quarterback, though early reports are very good. But there should never have been a question about his position.
Jackson landed with a team that believes in him as a quarterback. The Ravens traded up to get the 32nd overall pick, which they used on the Louisville star. We don’t know when Jackson will get his chance to start, since he’s behind Joe Flacco, but the future looks bright.
And now we have a better idea of what went down at the combine with Jackson.
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