“And with the 32nd pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, The Baltimore Ravens select Lamar Jackson.” (Roger Goodell) From that moment on, everyone was speculating as to why in the world the Ravens would invest in the former Heisman trophy winner. After last night though, it seems as though Lamar Jackson was able to finally silence all the haters.
The Patriots walked into Baltimore feeling confident and riding behind a defense unlike anyone had ever seen. They were 8-0 but Lamar Jackson and company saw that as an opportunity to put up 17 on the best defense in 40 years in the first quarter. The Patriots couldn’t recover and were demolished 37-20 as they let up 3 touchdowns by Lamar. (2 rushing, 1 passing) Even Belichick looked shocked as his team committed uncharacteristic mistakes and were not assignment sound but Lamar Jackson looked more comfortable than the Patriots wanted, even high stepping on the defense into the end zone.
We’ve never seen so much hype around this type of quarterback since RGIII and many assumed that it would be a repeat where injuries plague his career and he cannot perform anymore. However, last night showed Lamar Jackson truly is here to stay and personally, he changed how coaches will scout and draft their quarterbacks for the future. Quarterbacks were usually busts if they had more athletic ability like a RGIII or Lamar but QBS like Deshaun Watson, Mahomes and Jackson, can help establish a new precedent that we have never seen before. We could go from quarterbacks such as Manning, Brady, and Big Ben to the more mobile quarterbacks in as little as 5 years. The Ravens had a complete turnaround from Joe Flacco last year.
Give all the credit to Harbaugh as defenses nowadays are smaller and cannot prepare for a running game that is as stout as Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson as your 1,2 punch. Especially with tight ends who can block and Marquise Brown who can stretch you down the field. Lamar Jackson and these quarterbacks such as Tua can heave the ball down when needed and they can also execute an RPO as needed. The RPO offense or Run-Pass-Option is probably the hardest offense to defend and that type of offense suits these quarterbacks coming out of college. You see quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts who aren’t the biggest like Big Ben, but they can extend plays, make defensive lineman fall and then beat you over the top because it’s nearly impossible to cover for so long without getting a penalty. As seen last night, the Patriots secondary, who is the best coached and best disciplined was flagged numerous times for penalties when Lamar was scrambling. On the flip side, the Ravens weren’t called for much because Tom Brady as we all know cannot run to save his life.
As for the quarterbacks of the future, expect many more coaches to be looking for the athletic ability over the ability to heave a ball 75 yards. If he can extend plays, he should get a chance in the NFL and John Harbaugh saw an advantage and exploited it and the Ravens proved to the entire NFL that you can take down a truly elite defense with a quarterback that knows how to escape danger and you have blockers in front of you. Expect the draft to shift from wide receivers getting highly sought after to offensive lineman who can pancake people and smaller quarterbacks who can execute an RPO offense and can still find a way to stretch the field. Everyone will be talking about November 3rd 2019 for the way the NFL officially shifted from a shootout type of game to an 8 minute drive and punch the ball in old school with new plays kind of league. For those that love defenses, get ready because this will be a very interesting 5 years to see how coaches also draft their linebackers. Do they go heavy to beat the running game at the line or do they go for smaller, quicker backers who can beat a blocker to the point of attack and gain leverage over power? Only time will tell but for now, Lamar Jackson is in his own world and we just happen to be living in it.