- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — Lamar Jackson wants to make his position clear: he’s a quarterback.

Speaking to reporters Friday, the Louisville quarterback put to bed any doubt on which position he’ll play on the professional level. In recent weeks, Jackson has dealt with numerous talking heads debating whether he would be better suited at wide receiver, given his speed. The NFL Network reported Friday that multiple teams want Jackson to do wide receiver drills at the Combine.

Jackson said no team had approached him to workout as a wideout.

But he wouldn’t, if asked.

“Whoever likes me at quarterback, that’s where I’m going,” Jackson said. “That’s strictly my position.”

Jackson is one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s draft. He was a standout at Louisville under coach Bobby Petrino, routinely making electric plays. In 2016, Jackson won the Heisman Trophy and was a finalist again last fall.

He was a threat in the passing and running game — passing for more than 9,000 yards and rushing for more than 4,000 in his three years at Louisville. Jackson also played in a pro-style offense. 

But anonymous scouts and former NFL executives have questioned his ability to translate his play to the next level. ESPN’s Bill Polian, the former general manager of the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers, said Jackson was “too small” to play quarterback and should switch to wide receiver.

Jackson, however, stands 6-foot-3.

Some have said the discussion around Jackson, an African-American, is rooted in stereotypes regarding black quarterbacks.

“I’m a quarterback, I don’t know anything about racial slurs,” Jackson said.

On Friday, Jackson made light-hearted jokes and often laughed at the notion of playing anything but quarterback. Asked if he would be open to playing in speciality packages, Jackson quipped that was another position. He joked about the wildcat offense belonging with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

The former Heisman winner added “it’s crazy” that people have even suggested he switch positions.

“I thought I did a good job at quarterback,” Jackson said, laughing.

There are teams that are proceeding with the idea that Jackson will be a quarterback in the NFL. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and Broncos president of football operations John Elway both revealed Jackson was on their draft board as a quarterback.

Jackson said he’s met with the following teams: the Buffalo Bills, the Chicago Bears, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins, the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL.com pegged Jackson as a first or second round selection. 

There’s a chance that Jackson would have to sit for a year or two, if drafted by a team that has a veteran quarterback. Though he wants to play, Jackson said he would be fine learning, in the meantime.

Jackson will participate in throwing drills, starting Saturday. He won’t run the 40-yard dash, opting to do that at his Pro Day.

“I’ve just got to show off my arm because that’s where people are doubting me,” Jackson said.


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