Louisville Cardinals Football

Lamar Jackson Has 'No Shot' at Playing in the NFL, Says ACC Coach

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 26:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals throws a pass during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2017

Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson cemented himself as the nation's most dynamic quarterback during a 2016 season in which he tallied 51 total touchdowns en route to capturing the Heisman Trophy, but one ACC coach isn't convinced his electric dual-threat stylings will translate to the NFL. 

In a piece penned by Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, the anonymous ACC coach declared that Clemson Tigers signal-caller Deshaun Watson is a superior prospect to Jackson—whom he believes does not have a future playing on Sundays.  

"Watson has a chance to be at least as good as [Jameis] Winston," he said. "We played he and Lamar Jackson, and Jackson has no shot at playing quarterback in the NFL. None. He can’t make the throws and can’t read coverages. He’s not going to have a chance. Watson stands tall in the pocket and whips the ball around like Ben Roethlisberger."

On Wednesday, Jackson seemingly responded to the coach's comments with a short and simple post on Twitter: 

Jackson may not be a prototypical pocket passer built in the mold of successful NFL gunslingers, but he made encouraging strides with his arm after he relied heavily on his legs during a shaky freshman season. 

"As a passer, Jackson has improved his overall approach from the pocket, which has helped improve his accuracy with intermediate and deep throws," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote in September. "Because of that, he's hitting a much higher percentage of big plays with his arm."

To that point, Jackson improved upon his freshman numbers and completed 56.2 percent of his passes at a more robust 8.7 yards per attempt while topping 3,500 yards through the air. 

Lamar Jackson's College Numbers
SeasonComp. %Pass YdsYPAPass TDRush YdsRush TD
201554.71,8407.41296011
201656.23,5438.7301,57121
Source: ESPN.com

The good news for Jackson—who's far from a finished product—is that he'll have the 2017 season to hone his tantalizing skill set even more before he becomes draft-eligible in 2018. 

And if 2016 were any indication, Jackson's game should continue to evolve as he seeks to develop into a quarterback whose pro credentials can't be questioned. 

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