As Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s college career (likely) draws to a close, the debate that has surrounded last year’s Heisman Trophy winner for the past two seasons is coming to a head.
Can Jackson be a successful NFL quarterback?
Steve Spurrier, who knows a thing or two about coaching and playing quarterback, told Gentry Estes of the Louisville Courier-Journal that he believes Jackson will not only be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but that he will be “outstanding” at the next level.
“I think he’d be outstanding,” Spurrier said. “I think he’s going to be really good. He’s really developed, I think, more into a dropback passer, but he can also take off running and extend plays. And what a difference that makes. I didn’t coach one that could run quite like Lamar.”
Spurrier played quarterback at Florida from 1963-66 and won the Heisman Trophy himself in 1965. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL and coached Florida to two national title games, winning one.
Some mock drafts have seen Jackson projected as high as a top 5 pick, while other believe he isn’t a first-round prospect. Spurrier, who has met Jackson at the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremonies the past two years, told Estes that Jackson’s development as a passer in the past year has been noticeable.
“He can stay in the pocket when he needs to. He doesn’t just go back there and take off,” Spurrier said. “You can tell Bobby Petrino and his staff has done some really good work with him. At times, he looks like a dropback, pro quarterback. Heck, he’s what, 6-3, 6-3 1/2, and he’s got a nice, overhand throwing motion.
“I really sort of watched him this year. He’s tightened up his delivery. He’s got the ball up good and high. He’s ready to make a quick release. So I certainly think he’s going to be a first-rounder.”
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