Lamar Jackson Calls Discussion of Switching to WR 'Annoying'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2018

Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) warm up before the start of the TaxSlayer Bowl NCAA college football game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson reiterated his belief Friday that his NFL future is under center.

When asked about talk of having to switch to wide receiver in order to make it in the NFL, Jackson dismissed the notion, according to ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson: "It is annoying because quarterback is all I played all my life. People look at my legs and they see I can make big plays, but they don't really see my arm, and I make big plays with my arm. I scored more touchdowns with my arm than my legs so..."

Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 as a quarterback and finished third to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Stanford running back Bryce Love in 2017.

Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino was equally peeved about the position switch rumblings.

Per Adelson, Petrino is supremely confident Jackson can be an NFL quarterback, and he urged anyone who doesn't think so to dig deeper: "There's no question he's a quarterback in the NFL, and he's a special, special player. I don't know who started that or why they did it, but it's ridiculous. ... They just need to come in and do their work, watch the video, see him, that's it. That's just talk. Do your work."

In September, current ESPN analyst and former NFL general manager Bill Polian suggested on ESPN LA (h/t Jason Lisk of The Big Lead) that Jackson may not be able to succeed as a quarterback at the next level: "I don't think that Lamar, the Louisville kid's in that discussion. In fact there's a question that he may be, he might be a receiver. ... No, I'm not kidding you. And that has to do with girth and skill set as well."

During his Heisman-winning season, Jackson completed 56.2 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while rushing for 1,571 yards and 21 scores.

His numbers were similar in 2017, as he finished with a completion percentage of 59.1 percent for 3,660 yards, 27 touchdowns and 10 picks to go along with 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground.

The 2018 NFL draft class is stacked with potential first-round picks at quarterback, including Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph and Jackson.

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Jackson to be taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 47 overall pick in the second round.

Miller also ranked Jackson as the No. 6 quarterback in the class behind Rosen, Darnold, Allen, Mayfield and Rudolph.