Jackson was the Ravens' second first-round choice of the 2018 NFL draft. After selecting tight end Hayden Hurst at No. 25, they made a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to select the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner as the heir apparent to Joe Flacco.
Prior to the draft, following comments by ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian about Jackson potentially playing wide receiver, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome left no doubt as to how he sees the rookie fitting into the league:
Head coach John Harbaugh agreed with that assessment after Jackson was drafted, via Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website:
“He's a quarterback through and through, and he's a playmaker. When you look at stats and you evaluate him, he does all the things that any quarterback does. But we do some analytics and when the ball is in his hands, there hadn't been a better playmaker, really, in the last few years coming out [of the draft]. He's a great quarterback."
Jackson is coming to the NFL after a historic two-year run at Louisville. He became the first player in school history to win the Heisman and won back-to-back ACC Player of the Year awards in 2016-17.
The 21-year-old Jackson accounted for 10,375 yards and 96 total touchdowns in two seasons as the Cardinals' full-time starter.
Flacco has been the Ravens' starting quarterback since he was drafted in 2008. He's going to play 2018 at 33 years old, and his 18 touchdown passes last season were his fewest in a 16-game season since his rookie campaign.
Jackson will be Baltimore's quarterback of the future, potentially as soon as this season if Flacco continues to struggle.
The Ravens made the bold move to draft Jackson. He's now under contract, so they can let the development process begin.