Lamar Jackson may not have received as much hype throughout the 2018 NFL Draft process that many would have thought in 2016 when he received the Heisman Trophy, but there are a few teams that are becoming intrigued by his skills. One of those teams is apparently the New England Patriots.
According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Patriots are “intrigued” by Jackson and might consider taking him with the No. 23 overall pick.
Needless to say, the Patriots being interested in any young quarterback is of interest to fans. Tom Brady may still be one of the top three quarterbacks in football, but he isn’t getting any younger. New England is beginning to look into talented rookie quarterbacks because they are preparing for Brady’s departure.
Jackson was a superstar during his career with the Louisville Cardinals. He completed 59.1 percent of his pass attempts for 3,660 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 2017. In addition to his passing totals, Jackson racked up 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground.
Obviously, two-way quarterbacks are beginning to become more intriguing for NFL teams. Many quarterbacks have developed the ability to make plays with their legs, as that is what the league is looking for.
Relatively quietly, the #Patriots hosted #Louisville QB Lamar Jackson on a Top 30 pre-draft visit, sources say. The visit, which took place 2 weeks ago, left the organization “intrigued and impressed” with Heisman Trophy winner. They may have the option at No. 23.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2018
There is no denying the talent that Jackson possesses, but many critics don’t think he has an NFL-caliber arm. He may have the arm strength, but many have questioned his ability to make tight NFL passes.
That being said, if Belichick is indeed interested in Jackson, the Louisville standout could have a bright NFL future. All he needs is the right situation, and he has the potential to be a very strong quarterback. New England would certainly offer him that opportunity, which would be a dream come true for Jackson.
Lamar Jackson's full route tree from 2017 pic.twitter.com/jYxk8dCQvk— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 21, 2018
New England currently has two picks in the opening round of the 2018 draft. They possess the No. 23 pick, as well as the No. 31 pick. There is a chance that Belichick could use those picks in an attempt to trade up for UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, but Jackson at No. 23 might very well end up being a better pick in the grand scheme of things.
It will be interesting to see where Jackson ends up in the draft. Even if he doesn’t pan out as a quarterback, many believe that he could go the Terrelle Pryor route of transitioning to a wide receiver. Jackson is quick and at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, he might have the athleticism to become a dangerous target should he choose to go that route.
Expect to see the Patriots draft a quarterback early. They definitely like Rosen, but Jackson may end up being their man if they stand pat at No. 23. Mason Rudolph is another name to keep an eye on.