Heisman winner and Lions neg lister Lamar Jackson bolsters case as QB at pro day

Gary B. Graves, The Associated Press

Lamar Jackson’s determined look as he threw the football left no question about his NFL intentions.

Quarterback is the only position he will play in the pros. North of the border the B.C. Lions own Jackson’s negotiation list rights.

The former Louisville QB and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, who was successful in both throwing and running while in college, has stated that plan before and reinforced it with an impressive pro day workout focused solely on passing last Thursday before scouts and officials from all 32 NFL clubs.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was among those observing Jackson and 18 recent Cardinals teammates, including several defensive players hopeful of early round consideration in the draft that starts April 26.

But all eyes were on the 6-foot-3, 212-pound Jackson, who had thrown for 9,043 of his 13,175 career yards of offence and 69 of his 119 total touchdowns while at Louisville. Despite those gaudy numbers and a resume of dynamic highlights, he still faced suggestions at the NFL combine earlier this month about playing wide receiver rather than QB.

Jackson wasn’t having it. Though he didn’t run the 40-yard dash or partake in position drills, he served notice about his arm by delivering on target with many of his 59 scripted passes at Louisville’s practice facility. He even took snaps under centre from lineman Geron Christian – a pro hopeful as well – to answer another question about his skills.

“I came out here to prove to the guys that I can throw any pass from under centre instead of going to the (shot)gun,” Jackson told the NFL Network. He did not speak to local media.

“You have to see how fast you can get back in the pocket and have velocity on the ball.”

Jackson showed precise footwork and mechanics but he wasn’t perfect, overthrowing receivers on several deep balls early in his script. He quickly improved to hit targets on slants, fades, post and go routes, completing passes with inches to spare on some plays.

He drew applause on those tough throws and high-fives from teammates as he walked off the field with a big smile. It was like old times not that long ago, and nobody was surprised.

“He looked really smooth out there,” said Reggie Bonnafon, Jackson’s predecessor as Louisville’s QB before switching to receiver and running back. “He put in a lot of time and work, working on his mechanics and things like that for the next level. He put on some weight, so he looked good and it was good to some passes from him.”

Some draft boards project Jackson as a middle-to-late first-round selection. Wherever he goes, former Heisman Trophy winner and ESPN analyst Andre Ware. who played three CFL seasons with the Rough Riders, Lions and Argos, said, the workout should end talk about his QB potential.

“I think that question was answered today,” Ware said.

“That thing was put on (2012 Heisman winner) RG3 (Robert Griffin III) when he came out, and it’s reared its ugly head again with this kid. I think he’s one of the more dynamic playmakers that we’ve seen in quite some time at the QB position, which makes it tough on a defence.”

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14 Comments on Heisman winner and Lions neg lister Lamar Jackson bolsters case as QB at pro day

  1. Wingback // April 2, 2018 at 11:33 am //

    Will BC continue to produce top QB’s with Wally fading into the sunset??

  2. White Horse // April 2, 2018 at 1:13 pm //

    Good question Wing…Barrett, Flutie, Garcia, Burris, Dickenson just in Calg alone. Wally is a great talent evaluator. J. Jennings, Lulay etc!!!

  3. Green&Gold // April 2, 2018 at 1:40 pm //

    One big dude

  4. Cal Gary Shampeders // April 2, 2018 at 4:44 pm //

    “I came out here to prove to the guys that I can throw any pass from under centre instead of going to the (shot)gun,” Jackson told the NFL Network.

    Doing it outside of game conditions proves absolutely nothing.

    He went to Louisville – a major university – for three years. He scored a 13 on his Wonderlic. That’s 1 point *below* what the average janitor scores! Do you really want to invest a first round pick into a dumb QB, NFL GMs?

    If he wants to keep playing QB, he’ll be in the CFL eventually. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

  5. Cal Gary Shampeders // April 2, 2018 at 4:48 pm //

    “That thing was put on (2012 Heisman winner) RG3 (Robert Griffin III) when he came out, and it’s reared its ugly head again with this kid.”

    What? No it wasn’t! Find even one draft analyst who said that! He was the 2nd overall pick and would have been the first in any other year this century (Andrew Luck was always going to go ahead of him). No one doubted his accuracy or ability to play at the next level.

  6. Edward Leslie // April 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm //

    Well, if no NFL team wants him as a quarterback, B.C. has their #3 spot open for him, behind Jennings and Lulay. I don’t know if he’ll be too crazy about putting his signature on a contract for just $54,000 though.

  7. Edward Leslie // April 2, 2018 at 6:17 pm //

    Cal Gary: With a wonderlic score of just 13, if he comes to the Lions, Wally might have to help him put his helmet on the right way around. LOL

  8. Why can’t I find today’s Manziel story?

  9. Kent Austin was a great QB, and good coach until he landed in the train wreck called Hamilton. Back in 2007 he said: lots of guys have the physical tools below the shoulders to play QB, but a comparatively few have same above the shoulders. IF this guy is as dense as a bag of hammers, he won’t have the aptitude to soak up the knowledge that he needs to play QB. QB is, by far, the most demanding job on the field.

  10. Every &^%$ CFL squad has these quarterbacks, talented young guys who want to play QB and won’t get the chance in the NFL. So they sign young with a CFL team. Hope to make their mark, and maybe get a shot at the NFL some time down the line.
    Every team but the Alouettes that is.
    Oh, we had our young quarterback stars of the future; Cato, Bridge, Adams Jr.
    But we just gave them away.
    And now what do we have? An NFL washout who hasn’t played in 5 years. And Drew Willy. DREW *&^% WILLY.
    How’s that for talent to entice Als fans back int the stands?.
    Mange la, Reed.

  11. Edward Leslie // April 3, 2018 at 11:28 pm //

    Nostredummas: Colin Kaepernick could be reaching for his phone to call Kavis as we speak. You never know. Or maybe they’ll sign some other neg list prospects.
    Besides Matthew Shiltz and Antonio Pipkin, I believe they signed two other prospects. Shiltz and Pipkin might not be a latter day Conredge Holloway & Tom Clements signing with Ottawa-type situation, but who’s to say?
    Maybe the Alouettes could be the team that gives Noah Picton or another Canadian quarterback a chance. What have they got to lose? They hit rock bottom with Darian Durant at the controls in 2017.
    If Freeman flops, like you expect he will, plan B should be to try and re-acquire Brandon Bridge.
    Plan C: A phone call: “Smilin’ Hank, how’s that retirement going? Getting bored? Ever thought about a comeback?”

    • Hey Leslie…if you think Hank could still help, why not Russ Jackson? OH, wait…he is a Canadian…according to you, he could never start ahead of all the more talented imports!

  12. Edward Leslie // April 5, 2018 at 12:24 am //

    DAKAZ: I believe you’re confusing me with that “other Ed”. I’m always advocating for Canadian quarterbacks. Mind you, Russ Jackson might be a little too old now at 80. LOL

    Three out of the four quarterback possibilties for Montreal that I suggested were Canadian.
    Brandon Bridge, Noah Picton and Henry Burris. Smilin’ Hank became a Canadian citizen last year.

  13. My profound apologies for thinking you were the other ED, who doesn’t understand the CFL dynamic, or its place in the football landscape.
    And you got the joke about Russ Jackson. I wasn’t mocking you.
    I wonder how many other RJs are out there, talented Canucks, who will never get the chance, mostly because almost all of the CFL hierarchy hails from south of the 49th? They have contacts with the football factories down there, and can’t be bothered to put in the time, spelled patience, to develop a Canuck.

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