Bill Polian Admits He Was Wrong Saying Lamar Jackson Should Convert to WR

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2019

Lamar Jackson, quarterback de los Ravens de Baltimore, anota en un acarreo ante los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra, el domingo 3 de noviembre de 2019 (AP Foto/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian admitted he was wrong to suggest Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson should switch to wide receiver before the 2018 NFL draft.

Polian told Jarrett Bell of USA Today he viewed Jackson through the wrong lens, and the Ravens brass did a better job of evaluating what the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner could become at the pro level.

"I was wrong, because I used the old, traditional quarterback standard with him, which is clearly why John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome were more prescient than I was," he said Tuesday, adding: "And Greg [Roman] found a way in how he's developed a system to use those dynamic skills. Bottom line, I was wrong."

Although the former Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts GM whiffed on his assessment of Jackson, he was far from alone.

Jackson slid to the No. 32 overall pick in last year's draft because few analysts were sure how his skill set would translate to the NFL.

Most notably, there were questions about his accuracy since he completed just 57 percent of his throws across three seasons at the University of Louisville. His other numbers were terrific as he compiled 69 touchdown passes with 27 interceptions to go along with 50 rushing scores.

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The 22-year-old Florida native has proved the doubters wrong with a strong start to 2019, his first year as the Ravens' full-time starting QB. He's connected on 64.3 percent of his attempts for 1,813 yards with 12 touchdowns and five picks. He's added 637 rushing yards and five scores on the ground in eight games.

"The definition has changed, no question," Polian told Bell about the qualities it takes to become a successful NFL quarterback. "What he's doing is amazing."

Jackson has vaulted himself to the forefront of the MVP conversation alongside fellow quarterbacks Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, as well as Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

His stock was bolstered by leading Baltimore to a 37-20 win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. He accounted for three touchdowns in the victory.

Any question about his status as a franchise quarterback has faded away, and you can now count Polian among the believers.