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2018 NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots 'Intrigued and Impressed' with Lamar Jackson

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2018

University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson warms up before his workout in front of NFL scouts during Louisville's Pro Day, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson reportedly left the New England Patriots "intrigued and impressed" following a top-30 pre-draft visit. 

Ian Rapoport of NFL network reported the visit took place two weeks ago.

The Patriots pick No. 23 in the first round and may wind up taking a long look at Jackson as an heir apparent to Tom Brady. They are likely in the market for a quarterback early in the 2018 draft after trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers during last regular season. 

Jackson's draft status is arguably the most unpredictable of any top prospect. He has refused requests to work out at positions other than quarterback, an act of self-faith that's likely rankled some and impressed others.

“I’m mobile,” Jackson told reporters at the combine. “I can hit any target on the field. I love the game with a passion. I can lead my team; I feel like I’m a field general when I’m out there. I love to score. I love to put the ball in other people’s hands. I’m not a ball hog at all. It may look like it, but I’m not. I just love winning.”

There has been an interesting juxtaposition between concern regarding Jackson's accuracy and the rise of Josh Allen, who is now considered the likely No. 1 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns.

Jackson completed 57.0 percent of his passes at Louisville; Allen completed 56.2 percent of his throws at Wyoming, a school with much lesser competition. Allen has also never completed 60 percent of his passes at any level of football and threw for a relatively mediocre 44 touchdowns against 21 interceptions during his college career.

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Jackson threw for 69 touchdowns against 27 picks, all while adding 4,132 yards and 50 scores on the ground.

There are legitimate questions about Jackson's ability to hit all the throws necessary to succeed at the pro level, and there is no better place to learn than New England. Tom Brady does not appear to be going anywhere for at least a couple more years, so Jackson could hold a clipboard until he's ready.

The Patriots have no real history with adding players with Jackson's type of skill set, though, so taking him would be a deviation from their norm. 

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