Kirk Herbstreit: Lamar Jackson Tops Saquon Barkley as NFL Draft's Most Explosive

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2018

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 18:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While Saquon Barkley is in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick, the jury appears to be out on just how high Lamar Jackson will be drafted later this week.

But that isn't stopping one football expert from calling the former Heisman Trophy winner the most explosive playmaker in the draft, which starts 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

In his 2018 NFL draft Herbies, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit ranked Jackson's playmaking skills as second to none, edging out Barkley and former Alabama star Calvin Ridley. He wrote:

"To say Jackson is explosive isn't just to say he has exceptional speed and quickness when he decides to take off with the ball. He's just explosive in all his actions, period -- and that starts with an explosive arm. Ridley is lean, but his explosiveness is obvious on tape. He ran a 4.43 40 in Indy, which is plenty fast for a guy who has good length at 6-foot-3."

Both Barkley and Ridley are viewed as the consensus top prospects at their respective position. On the other hand, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Jackson as the fifth-best quarterback following the NFL Scouting Combine.

The former Louisville Cardinals star drew comparisons to Michael Vick in college due to his unique ability to make plays with both his arm and legs. He totaled 9,043 passing yards, 4,132 rushing yards and 119 touchdowns. In 2016, he put up a ridiculous 3,543 passing yards, 1,571 rushing yards and 51 total scores to take home the Heisman Trophy. 

Putting up those numbers certainly caught the eyes of NFL teams. However, a career 57 completion percentage has raised questions as to whether or not he can be a quarterback at the next level, with some even wondering if he should transition to wide receiver.

And that speaks credit to his playmaking skills.

The 6'2", 216-pound Jackson is a threat to score every time he touches the football. When he hits the open field, look out.

While Herbstreit praised Jackson as a playmaker, the former Ohio State quarterback believes Barkley is the best player in the draft and the top instant-impact prospect. 

The draft gets underway 8 p.m. ET Thursday, so it's only a matter of time before both Barkley and Jackson find out how teams view their talent.