Bill Polian thinks Lamar Jackson needs to move to wide receiver in the NFL

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Lamar Jackson won a Heisman Trophy as a quarterback at Louisville, but one Hall of Fame G.M. doesn’t think much of Jackson’s chances at the next level.

Bill Polian said on ESPN today that Jackson has neither the size nor the passing ability to become a franchise quarterback.

“Short and a little bit slight,” Polian said of Jackson, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds. “Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.”

So what should Jackson do at the next level?

“I think wide receiver,” Polian said. “Exceptional athelete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s [Antonio Brown], and who else? Name me another one, Julio [Jones is] not even like that.”

Polian said he thinks Jackson should begin preparing to play wide receiver now, rather than trying to make it as a quarterback at first, like Terrelle Pryor did coming out of Ohio State.

“Don’t wait to make the change. Don’t be like the kid from Ohio State and be 29 when you make the change,” Polian said.

It’s safe to say Jackson won’t be taking Polian’s advice: Jackson will work out for NFL teams as a quarterback, and prepare to get drafted by a team that views his talents differently.

89 responses to “Bill Polian thinks Lamar Jackson needs to move to wide receiver in the NFL

  1. “I think wide receiver,” Polian said. “Exceptional athelete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s [Antonio Brown], and who else? Name me another one, Julio [Jones is] not even like that.”

    —————-
    All those things, and exactly those things, AND came out of college as qb being switched to WR…Julien Edelman.

    I actually dont think he should have equated to Brown. Sure Brown has those traits but his actual skill balance is different. And lets face it…superior.

  2. udub says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    Its 2018 so this will probably turn racial.
    FYI, Julian Edelman was a college QB
    ———–

    He’s also 5’8″ or whatever. Lamar is 6’4″.

  3. Seems right on the money to me, but obviously being drafter higher as a QB is going to mean more money right out of the gate than switching now and heading into the draft as a WR. Risky either way, but if he’s willing to switch to WR and let’s teams and GMs know that, it could pay off for him. More teams should have a player like this who plays WR and serves as the #3 QB, only taking up one roster spot. Pat Tilley and Danny White played two positions without any issue, and Jackson would only need to play QB in an emergency situation.

  4. I don’t know anything about Jackson’s accuracy, and that is my first deal breaker with any QB, but using the Heisman as a defense of his.potential reminds me of Danny Wuerffel, Andre Ware, Gino Torretta, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Matt Leonard, Troy Smith, Th Detmer, Johnny Manziel, and a few other people who like me were never good NFL quarterbacks.

  5. rxv5854 says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm
    Hey Bill you realize you are the reason the greatest QB of all-time only won one superbowl in Indy right?

    this is so true. Peyton would have more rings than fingers if hed been on patriots or old school dynasty teams like c-boys 49ers or steelers

  6. I don’t think the Edelman comparison even counts. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman as a QB, while Edelman was a running QB for a mid major.

    There’s definitely a risk with Jackson as his completion % isn’t great (although it improved each season), but how Polian can say he doesn’t have the arm of other guys is ridiculous. As for knocks on his size… well, Tom Brady is 6’4″, and about 220, so why won’t 6″3″ 215 work?

  7. Polian states that “the accuracy isn’t there”, yet Lamar Jackson has a higher completion percentage than Josh Allen. I don’t know if he’ll be a franchise guy or not, but he has quite the college resume and will be fun to watch on the next level. I’d be more worried about injury risk than passing with Jackson…

  8. Grumpy old man. Bill Polian’s biggest fan is Bill Polian. Can’t believe he or Dungy are in the Hall of Fame.

  9. For those making comparisons to Edelman, Edelman is 5’10 with a losing record at Kent State and Jackson is a 6’3 Heisman winning QB with a strong arm and played at Louisville. I understand that Heisman QBs almost never are successful in the league, but I’d give QB a shot before trying to transition to WR.

  10. Don’t know if Lamar Jackson will be a successful NFL QB or not, but Josh Allen almost certainly WILL be!

  11. I’ve watched Jackson for years, and I’m skeptical of his listed height. He doesn’t look 6’3″ at all. I’m thinking he’s more like 6’1 1/2.”

  12. Wellman says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:36 pm
    “I think wide receiver,” Polian said. “Exceptional athelete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s [Antonio Brown], and who else? Name me another one, Julio [Jones is] not even like that.”

    —————-
    All those things, and exactly those things, AND came out of college as qb being switched to WR…Julien Edelman.

    *************************************************************************************

    Ha — so, Julian Edelman is on Antonio Brown’s level now, huh?

  13. I’ve never understood why everyone thought Michael Vick was so great and he was the number 1 pick, but yet other quarterbacks who can run and are better passers than Vick are supposed to switch positions.

  14. I’m an amateur just like all of you. That said we all get an opinion. Her’s mine: Polian is dead on. This kid will never be a QB in the NFL.Accuracy is not there in college, will not be there in NFL. Can’t read defenses. Incredible athlete though, just wrong position.

  15. Nothing to see here, just an offseason hot take that his employer probably encouraged him to make to drive some clicks and roundtable discussion fodder across the ESPN suite of channels.

  16. this is so true. Peyton would have more rings than fingers if hed been on patriots or old school dynasty teams like c-boys 49ers or steelers
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Peyton Manning was one of the worst playoff QBs in the game, especially during the SB. Those that claim he would have won more SBs with another team are delusional. The guy has more INTs then TDs in his 4 SB appearances. He was a great regular season QB who played awesome in the dome and had great offensive weapons for his entire career. He was pedestrian at best when the playoffs came around, which is why is he will never be more than a top-5 QB of all time.

  17. greenwhodat26 says:

    I’ve watched Jackson for years, and I’m skeptical of his listed height. He doesn’t look 6’3″ at all. I’m thinking he’s more like 6’1 1/2.”

    That’s what the combine is for.

  18. I don’t remember Bill suggesting Tebow and Manziel switch position. Now all of a sudden Lamar Jackson who is a better passer than both needs to switch to a WR. What’s going on Bill?

  19. If he eats his wheaties can’t he gain the extra 20 lbs needed to be an nfl qb? I would not take him in the first, but anywhere late 2nd and after knowing he’s a project and may need a couple years to develop. There’s time to switch, Bill.

  20. Taller then Baker who people are now loving. More accurate then Josh Allen. Makes you wonder if the race aspect is creeping in. I wonder why he isn’t discussed as a top 10 pick. Then again these GMs have no idea how to pick QB’s, look at the Luck RG3 draft class.

  21. He and Tebow almost have the same individual credentials and question marks around them in regards to their fit in an NFL offense when leaving similar collegiate offenses. Tebow was picked in the 1st round. He got several chances to be a QB with the Broncos, Jets and Patriots. Can’t Jackson at least be given one shot? If he fails, so what? He can use his athletic ability elsewhere…just like Tebow. Give the kid a chance instead of shutting him down before he even tries at the highest level.

  22. Of course if Jackson enters the league as a QB and is playing at a Pro Bowl level in 3-4 years then, in that time frame, Polian will be saying I was pulling your leg, I actually had a first round grade for Jackson as a QB.

  23. I guess they also edited out the part where Polian explains how Lamar lacks the mental acumen to run a sophisticated NFL offense that his predecessors like Ryan Leaf, Christian Ponder, and so many other fine, young, upstanding men did.

  24. It is the same old story year after year. No matter how many white quarterback that fail at quarterback in the NFL. It is only the black quarterbacks who so call “can’t read defenses”. That is a racist code only used when evaluating quarterbacks of color. You have numerous quarterbacks with less talent and skills that make a large amount of money but it seems only white quarterbacks are reserved for that in the NFL. Josh Mcgown, Matt Cassell Mike Glennon, horrible but getting paid. Why not some black quarterbacks can’t do much worse then these guys.

  25. Bill is crazy.
    In both 2016 and 2017 Louisville had nobody Lamar threw to or had blocking for him that could even make the practice squad on the Cleveland Browns. He was was running for his life every game, but was didn’t miss any games either year and put up huge numbers, despite all the drops passes, etc.
    Go look at Louisville Football’s Wikipedia pages for 2016 and 2017 – he’s the only one on offense who has a page!!!

  26. Well, most QB’s in the NFL can’t combine accuracy, pocket presence and the ability to read a defense. That’s why you only have a handful of really good QB’s. If he can do all of those things “average” and bring his ability to run to the table, he is immediately better than a lot of QB’s in the NFL.

  27. Never know whether Polian’s comments are truthful or whether he has another agenda. Some other former experts make public pronouncements and speak with scouts promoting certain prospects, for a fee. Why is Bill going out of his way to denigrate Lamar Jackson as a QB, saying he needs to become a receiver?
    BTW Bill – How’s that Chad Kelly prediction from last year looking? Yes, clearly the elite talent of 2017, LOL…

  28. 6’3″ isn’t tall for an NFL qb, but it isn’t short either. Also some qbs that actually are short did ok…Brees, Wilson, Flutie.

    Accuracy might be a legit concern, but not size.

  29. I would agree that accuracy is a legit concern for Lamar Jackson as he has struggled with accuracy through his career(56.6 career completing %). I would also say he would need to fix his footwork as majority of his inaccuracy comes from that, I seen countless of times that he would shift too much weight to his front foot which cost him to overthrow.

  30. He’s a taller version of Tyrod Taylor. And if you’re a Bills fan you already know how that will work out. I think he’ll probably be the QB that drops to the 2nd or 3rd round. I think Polian is right. He should make the move now, becasue he’ll be spinning his wheels as an
    NFL QB.

  31. He can figure all this out after he is drafted. Look at the system and the depth chart then make a decision. I keep hearing this cliche about not being able to read defenses lol. Its about which QB can LEARN how to read defenses. The top QB’s in this years draft come out of one read offenses and run at least 5 WR. You find the open guy or tuck and run.

  32. I agree with Polian; 90% of QB’s like Jackson don’t pan out. Hes just like Micahel Vick and Vick couldn’t win anything because he was too fragile and had no accuracy.

  33. “Ha — so, Julian Edelman is on Antonio Brown’s level now, huh?”

    No but he’s one notch below. Definitely one of the better receivers in the league and one of the toughest. His circus catch in the SB vs Atlanta, surrounded by defenders, is one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen by far.

  34. Marino went late in the first round…experts questioned maturity. Montana went in the 3rd round…experts questioned his arm strength. Tom Brady went in the 6th round, Russell Wilson in the 3rd round, Arod fell miserably in the 1st round. These “experts” don’t earn there jobs they are given these decision making jobs because of who they know. I stopped listening to these experts a while ago. Josh Allen has a 1 to 6 td to interception ratio against d1 competition but yet experts claim he is great because of potential. FOH

  35. Stop it with the Tebow comparison. Everyone on the planet wanted him to become a TE/H-back like Frank Wychek. You’re not a victim and neither is Jackson. Drop that mentality now.

  36. While I don’t get the doesn’t read defenses as he did make reads in the offense he was running and did a pretty good job at it. The reading defense is just lazy black qb theory.

    That being said I agree with Polian. I watched almost all of Jackson’s games in college and I just don’t see an nfl qb. The mechanics are really bad and the arm strength is just not up to an nfl level. I also agree with others that’s Ian Jackson is over 6’1 I’ll be shocked. If he wants to get a second contract in the nfl a switch to wide receiver is probably in order.

    But if he thinks he can do it and someone is willing to give him a chance then he should go for it.

  37. Polian is a moron. Lamar has more than enough size to be a QB @ 6″3, Russell WIlson is 5″10….. Lamar Jackson also has good slid accuracy when his feet are planted, he needs to work on his mechanics a bit but he could be a deadly lethal dual threat QB in the NFL if a team builds their offense around his strengths, running a lot of RPO & Play Action passing game. If he were to go to a team like Arizona, paired up with All-Pro RB/WR David Johnson, they would be practically unstoppable as a combo. Lamar Jackson could be even better than Watson at the NFL Level, I think his game will mirror Cam Newton’s just a smaller version. Polian was also saying DeShaun Watson wouldnt work out this time last year to, and I wouldnt be surprised if he was saying in 2011 Newton should switch to TE. Absolute Joke telling Lamar he should switch to WR with Racial overtones behind that comment.

  38. All-American Voltron says:
    February 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm
    I guess they also edited out the part where Polian explains how Lamar lacks the mental acumen to run a sophisticated NFL offense that his predecessors like Ryan Leaf, Christian Ponder, and so many other fine, young, upstanding men did.

    This isn’t fair to Christian; he never asked to be drafted #1 and it certainly wasn’t his fault that Spielman, with nothing more to lose than Frasiers job insisted on keeping him in.

  39. TaeCH326 says:
    February 19, 2018 at 4:59 pm
    I would agree that accuracy is a legit concern for Lamar Jackson as he has struggled with accuracy through his career(56.6 career completing %). I would also say he would need to fix his footwork as majority of his inaccuracy comes from that, I seen countless of times that he would shift too much weight to his front foot which cost him to overthrow.
    _______________________________________________________–

    You’re spot on. Last I looked Lamar Jackson completed 59.9% of his passes last year and a career 57.5% completion percentage, he can throw accurately when he plants his feet & drives the ball, where he gets in trouble is when he is on the move, he sometimes isnt accurately on the move & his poor mechanics messes with his accuracy as well. Someone in the NFL will break him down and build him back-up and his accuracy & completion percentage will go up, he just needs to work on his passing mechanics. I personally believe in Lamar Jackson and believe he will be a good NFL QB, I think in the NFL his accuracy will be better but similar to Cam Newtons.

  40. The draft expert I subscribe to likes Lamar Jackson better than Josh Allen. He calls Josh Allen the mannequin and mentioned how his completion % in JC was 49%.

  41. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm
    udub says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    Its 2018 so this will probably turn racial.
    FYI, Julian Edelman was a college QB
    ———–
    He’s also 5’8″ or whatever. Lamar is 6’4″.
    ———————————
    No, MrWright, Edelman is 5’10” – same as Wilson and past great Flutie. Edelman only looks short because Brady is even taller than he looks at 6’4″. Edelman was a great high school QB and started out as a QB in college but soon switched to WR.

  42. Bill Polian is SO FREAKING SMUG and full of himself, just because he believes his experience in the NFL gives him special “accuracy” bonus. Wrong! So many of these prior NFL people believe the often repeated rhetoric that was believed in the old NFL. They keep saying it as if the league is the same as it was when Elway played. Back when all NFL QB’s came into the league and were expected from day one to go through all the progressions-1st read deep, second, mid, third, check down. Well in todays NFL it in reality is the exact opposite (except Ben Roethlesberger and Rodgers, etc). And even Big Ben gets in trouble for holding on to the ball. Todays QB CANNOT DO THAT! They actually generally go the opposite. They look for the check down first, go mid second and on special plays go deep!!!! That is my observation. That is why so many guys have lots of passing yards, and high completion percentages. And the reason they get rid of the ball so fast.
    Well the QB position is changing again with a lot of read option and RPS’s and deep passes that allow QB’s to succeed sooner if they get with the right coach. So, these guys that were highly successful in college can be highly successful in the pros if they are allowed to keep doing things they way they have mastered it.

    Polian has experience, but it is what is getting in his way. I mean, what did Polian say over and over about Bortles, Keenam, and Foles last years? Enough said.

  43. Why is everyone so bent out of shape over this? It’s just his opinion. Fact is, it could go either way. He’s taking the safe road “maybe” so he falls into the ” I told ya so” category. He himself is irrelevant

  44. …Josh Mcgown, Matt Cassell Mike Glennon, horrible but getting paid. Why not some black quarterbacks can’t do much worse then these guys.”
    ____________________________

    I don’t really disagree with this, but it always irks me how Matt Cassel gets zero respect like he’s some sort of underachiever or disappointment. He was drafted in the SEVENTH round by the Patriots when Tom Brady was still in his 20s. At best he was supposed to be a guy who maybe-just-maybe might develop into a low cost and serviceable backup for a few seasons. Instead, he stepped up and went 11-5 when Brady went down with an ACL tear, and had a couple of average seasons in KC, and has rolled on to a 14 year career. If anything, that’s an OVER achievement for a guy who couldn’t beat out Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart at USC.

  45. Most of the time the college system either requires or doesn’t require the QB to make reads. Not so much that he can’t read defenses as he plays in a system where he didn’t have to read more than one DLine man.

    Likely no one really knows if he can or can’t read defenses right now; until coaches start showing him defenses and ask him to break them down. A team needing both some speed at WR and a succession plan at QB could invest a 3rd rounder in him. Let him fill WR5 and QB3 on the roster (two roster spots one pick) see which position he’s best suited.

    Every player drafted has a higher possibility of being a bust than being a pro-bowler, so it’s kinda ridiculous to read too much into a player’s collegiate career.

  46. People, just shut up already about VY10 who is still undeafeated (3-0) versus Eli/Big Blue.

    As for Bill Polian’s assessment about anything, all I can say is, if Randy Moss and Ocho Uno (T.O.) were aware of your assessment about them, then I would not expect them to ever shake your hand… wearing their Yellow (Hall of Fame) Jackets… I know I wouldn’t 🙂

  47. udub says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    Its 2018 so this will probably turn racial.
    FYI, Julian Edelman was a college QB
    ————–

    No one calls 6’3 white guys short, but Edelman certainly is.

  48. Couple quick points:
    1. I don’t think Jackdaw is 6’3”. Shorter
    2. Gotta give Detmer some credit for 14 years in NFL
    3. So many qb’s have failed with accuracy or intangible shortcomings. Polion
    May be right on. Let’s look back in 2 years.

  49. So there is a guy who is the starting QB for the Texans who most people said would not perform well.

    Jackson will take 2 years to get it. I think he has the skills to be a QB.

  50. There’s definitely racial overtones behind the statement. Anybody that has actually watched Jackson play knows how much he progressed as a pocket passer during his final two seasons. Several times he showed the ability to dropback, set his feet and throw comfortably and accurately from the pocket. Josh Allen has similar concerns accuracy wise, but no one would dare move him to a different position. Both have uncanny arm talent.

  51. youngnoizecom says:

    February 20, 2018 at 9:40 am

    There’s definitely racial overtones behind the statement. Anybody that has actually watched Jackson play knows how much he progressed as a pocket passer during his final two seasons. Several times he showed the ability to dropback, set his feet and throw comfortably and accurately from the pocket. Josh Allen has similar concerns accuracy wise, but no one would dare move him to a different position. Both have uncanny arm talent.
    ———————–
    There sure is.. Funny how they didn’t mention Vilma’s or Booger’s same views on Jackson!!!

  52. I’m tired of the old “can’t read a defense” nonsense. Name 1 college QB that can OR was even ALLOWED to try. What do you think is going on when they stare at the sideline for 20 seconds after getting lined up? Even when they do “make a read” it’s one side of the field and one MAYBE two keys if they’re lucky. Almost all college offenses have devolved into one read and run or the “good” QBs get to heave it deep and hope they CB or Safety froze on the 1st read.

  53. Short and slight? He’s bigger than Mayfield. He’s 6-3!! You can say he’s inaccurate but don’t knock his size. Idiot. I think he’s better than Gyros Taylor or Ryan Fitzpatrick who’ve held down starting jobs in the NFL. So, he has a chance.

  54. He compared Terrell Pryor and Lamar Jackson means he doesn’t know either player.

    I’m an OSU alum so i’ve seen every single play of Pryor at OSU and i’m a Raiders fan, so I saw that mess too.

    Pryor is straight line fast – nothing like lamar jackson in agility. Pryor never made that highlight juke move in college. He was never like braxton miller, he just had a very fast long stride.

    Pryor has a weak arm. He’s like a post-surgery chad pennington.

    To me, the only comparison is Mike Vick. Strong arm, inconsistent accuracy, potentially best athlete on the field each game.

    I like Darnold a lot and think he will be best. He looked terrific against OSU’s d-line. a Line that will have many nfl players on it and a top 10-15 pick CB this year in denzell ward.

    But to me. Lamar is the 2nd best option. I wouldn’t take him with a top 5 pick, but i’d much rather risk him later in the 1st than a top 5 pick on josh allen. Maybe Wentz made the small school QB a hip thing, but I’d rather take such an enormous risk with someone that has played versus much higher talent. Besides wtf throws for only 16tds in college?

  55. udub says:
    February 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    Its 2018 so this will probably turn racial.
    FYI, Julian Edelman was a college QB

    ********************************************************************************************

    It will “probably turn racial” because EVERY YEAR it seems that an ACCOMPLISHED QB of African American descent gets belittled/down played while his LESS ACCOMPLISHED Anglo counterparts are “Puffed Up” and Highly Regarded for their “POTENTIAL” Lol Case in point just last year Deshaun Watson (CLEARLY the best QB in last years Draft) was also a Heisman Trophy winner AS WELL AS NATIONAL CHAMPION from the toughest conference in College Football was SEVERELY DOWNPLAYED. So much so that the Bears mortgaged their future by OVER DRAFTING Mitch Trubisky!

    Comparing Edelman and his “Mid-Major” Kent State QB resume to Jackson is LAUGHABLE AT BEST!!! Edelman threw 31 TD’s and 30 INT’s and never even threw for over 1900 yards!!! Lol Can you REALLY with a STRAIGHT FACE compare him to the Heisman Trophy winner(and this Years Heisman Trophy Finalist) Jackson. SMDH

    Jackson may not end up being a high quality NFL QB but Jeez how many Do?? Lol Doesn’t his College Resume suggest he aughta AT THE VERY LEAST be given an opportunity?

    When Polian or any other person suggests that a player that is as accomplished as Jackson should change his position before he is given an OPPORTUNITY to Succeed or Fail at the NFL level, it is “highly questionable” and DEFINITELY lends credence that “other biases” may be in play. JM2C #BLACKEXCELLENCE

  56. Accuracy is a concern with Jackson, and he’s really fast. That’s great, of course. But if he’s going to be a guy who pulls it down and runs on a regular basis, that can be an issue. Teams shouldn’t want their QB to run on a regular basis because it’s too easy to get hurt.

    Even when QBs slide we see defenders taking shots at them as they’re going down. So, can he be a pocket passer – reading defenses, getting the ball out quickly and making accurate throws – that’s the big question.

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