“Lamar Jackson should play WR” take sparks internal ESPN disagreement

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On Monday, ESPN analyst Bill Polian reiterated his belief that former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson should switch to receiver at the next level. Many disagreed, including another ESPN analyst.

Said Damien Woody, “[People] already want Lamar Jackson to switch positions?! We’ve seen plenty of bum QBs, that are still in the league . . . get chance after chance.”

Woody is right. There aren’t enough average quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and a guy who took college football by storm in 2016 (and who performed just as effectively in 2017) shouldn’t even have to deal with this question — especially when the assessment is based in part on the belief that Jackson isn’t tall enough.

Jackson stands at six feet, three inches. Four years ago, Polian argued that the Browns should use the fourth overall pick in the draft on Johnny Manziel. Manziel was (and still is) three inches shorter than Jackson.

It’s OK for different analysts to have different opinions about whether or not a player will thrive at his position of choice, or the round in which he should be drafted based on his skills, or lack thereof. But there should be more respect given to any player’s position of choice, especially when the player has shown that he can play that position well in college.

Jackson chooses to play quarterback, and he’s done enough to earn the benefit of the doubt that quarterback is the position he should play in the NFL — especially given that ugly period of NFL history when scouts and coaches summarily moved quarterbacks to other positions based solely on the color of their skin.

36 responses to ““Lamar Jackson should play WR” take sparks internal ESPN disagreement

  1. Well, if QB doesn’t work out it’s something he should consider. Just ask Terrell Pryor, Antwan Randal-El, Randall Cobb and others. WR worked out pretty well for them…or he can take the Tim Tebow route and demand to play QB or else. We see how that worked out for him.

  2. especially given that ugly period of NFL history when scouts and coaches summarily moved quarterbacks to other positions based solely on the color of their skin.
    —————————————

    And there it is. Had to wait until last sentence but I knew it had to be there somewhere. So very predictable.

  3. Fortunately for Jackson, the more Polian questions his skillset the better his chances of making it in the NFL probably are.

  4. Brock Osweiler
    Trevor Siemian
    Blane Gabbert
    Drew Stanton
    Nathan Peterman
    Mike Glennon
    Kevin Hogan
    DeShone Kizer
    Cody Kessler
    Brett Huntley
    Scott Tolzien
    Geno Smith
    Bryce Petty
    CJ Bethard

    This is a list of all of the QB’s who started a game in the NFL last season.

    Tell me again why Lamar Jackson should switch to WR? Why he’s not good enough to play QB in the NFL?

  5. “So very predictable.”
    ______________

    But not totally without warrant in this case. He loved Manziel and is also a big fan of Baker Mayfield who is also a couple inches shorter than Jackson. Does he have other 6’3″ guys who he thinks are too short? I’m fine if you want to just brand Polian as being totally clueless but I totally get why some would suspect he’s speaking in some sort of code in this instance.

  6. Liberalsruineverything says:
    February 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm
    especially given that ugly period of NFL history when scouts and coaches summarily moved quarterbacks to other positions based solely on the color of their skin.
    —————————————

    And there it is. Had to wait until last sentence but I knew it had to be there somewhere. So very predictable.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    To be honest, I wasn’t even expecting something like that. I was stunned & then quickly realized in today’s, “news isn’t information, it’s creating strife” world, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

  7. Liberalsruin…
    Doesn’t mean it is not an accurate statement. Maybe you would do better pointing out that it goes the other way too sometimes. White RBs become FBs, white WRs get restricted to the slot, white DBs… ummm I don’t think they exist in the modern era. A fee unicorns.

    Just saying. It happens. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it is a waste of a person’s talent based more on perception than performance.

  8. So if he flames out – will PFT come back and say “maybe a position change would help given his natural athletic skills?”

    Doubt it.

  9. This debate is only fun when fans and media are willing to defer to the NFL experts. It’s going to be up to them, not us. And it only takes one GM to pull the trigger. This type of debate is not fun when fans/media pick sides and refuse to give in to reality when the opposite of ones own predictions becomes the truth.

  10. I think we’re up to about 90% of all news and social media being coverage of opinions about other opinions.

    Someone has an opinion about a football player. Who cares?

  11. Four years ago Polian is suggesting the Browns draft Manziel, today he is on ESPN saying there were lots of red flags concerning Manziel and its on the Browns for drafting him.Let’s not forget he had a first round grade on Brady.

    Can we get this old fool off ESPN or any station for that matter.?

  12. When I was listening to Polian on the radio – his problem with Jackson had nothing to do with his height, it had to do with his lack of accuracy – and that small framed running QBs get hurt a lot in the NFL. It was Baker Mayfield with whom he had an issue with height.

  13. I know that Polian has been a self righteous dotard for awhile know… but it looks like FLorio is on a mission to turn him into the Jeff Fisher of analysts.

  14. Bill Polian is old and delusional. But I don’t think it was as much of an attack on Jackson’s ability to play quarterback as it was an acknowledgement of how special the kid is with the ball in his hands. Julian Edelman was asked to switch to wide receiver, and he was much less effective running the ball as a college QB than Lamar Jackson. But hey, let’s go ahead and bring race into this for absolutely no reason. Similarly, it could be argued that Tim Tebow and Cam Newton would both make better tight ends than quarterbacks.

  15. What ever happened to adjusting your scheme to put your players in the best position to win? If you play to Jackson’s strengths he will succeed in the league, it’s that simple. Give him quick throws/reads, roll outs, RPOs (SB proved how strong these are), and designed QB runs and watch him work.

  16. “This is a list of all of the QB’s who started a game in the NFL last season.”

    Um, your list has a total of 14 names on it. Are you not aware there are 32 teams in the league? And that some of the teams started more than 1 QB over the course of the season?

    Perhaps you meant to say this is a list of the QBs who started a game and sucked.

  17. @ bennetmr

    Polian said on NFL Live yesterday Monday, that Lamar Jackson is too short to play QB in the NFL

  18. “he’s done enough to earn the benefit of the doubt that quarterback is the position he should play in the NFL.”
    Agreed.
    But the same logic should have applied to Tebow (who won a Heisman and won games at the next level), and everyone claimed he was stubborn for sticking to QB.

  19. especially given that ugly period of NFL history when scouts and coaches summarily moved quarterbacks to other positions based solely on the color of their skin.
    ——
    Perhaps you’re missing the bigger point. If those players were good, they’d be playing QB. It’s not the color of their skin anyone cares about, it’s having the mental acuity to do the job, and many just don’t have it.

  20. jlkintyre says:
    February 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    To be honest, I wasn’t even expecting something like that. I was stunned & then quickly realized in today’s, “news isn’t information, it’s creating strife” world, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
    ————————————

    Yep, guaranteed if the story has to do with a crusty old NFL establishment white guy and a young black athlete it ends up in the same place 99 out of 100 times.

  21. I missed your point. Are you saying coaches didn’t summarily move college QBs to other positions based solely on the color of their skin, or that a guy shouldn’t mention it on his own website because it injures your delicate feelings?

  22. Charles Territo says:
    February 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm
    I’m just glad the Buffalo Bills won’t be drafting him.
    ______________________________________________________

    Wow, are you looking at the Bills draft board? They are actually one of the teams that could draft him. The GM, Brandon Beane is actually the guy that drafted Cam Newton at Carolina. Their offensive coordinator who just came from Alabama said that he “would love to coach Jackson” last year. Bills are sitting there at 21 and 22 and need to draft a QB. Jackson is on their draft board somewhere.

  23. I am very involved with all things Buffalo Bills. No Mock Draft I’ve seen has him on it. The Bills have not once indicated anything towards him. They did interview him at the Senior Bowl but that is all. There are multiple reports/rumors saying they are looking to trade up to get a QB not named Jackson. Josh Rosen who they scouted games he started and finished. A few of them are saying they want the Giants pick at #2. So, get off your high hat and know more than you obviously don’t.

  24. I’ll take him as a back-up to A-Rod right now and he’ll be better than what GB has. If he pans out we can trade him. If he doesn’t, well then entertain the switch. If you’re successful as a big time college QB then the NFL would be stupid to turn a blind eye to that.

  25. Yes in this case Polian is right. There are about 4 slots a year for QB. Lamar may not good enough to take one. However there are 20 WR slots. He has the size and speed to take one of those slots. Race didn’t stop Julian Edelman from converting to WR.

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