In just three seasons at Louisville, Lamar Jackson set or shared 42 school and seven conference records in addition to picking up the 2016 Heisman Trophy. Arguably the greatest dual-threat QB in the history of college football, Jackson has plenty to offer NFL clubs in search for a difference maker.
"I'm mobile. I can hit any target on the field," he told reporters at the Combine. "I love the game with a passion. I can lead my team, I feel like I'm the field general when I'm out there. I love to score. I love to put the ball in other receivers' hands. I'm not a ball hog at all — it may look like it, but I'm not. I just love winning."
Rarely slowed in college, Jackson became the first non-senior in FBS history to rush for 4,000 yards and pass for 9,000 yards in his career. He averaged 6.3 yards each time he tucked the ball away and ran with it, reaching the century mark 23 times and totaling 50 touchdowns on the ground.
"He's a first-round athlete," said NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler. "But when you watch his tape and you watch his film and really break it down, when you get excited, it's when he is running the ball. As a prospect, all that matters is his development as a passer. Athleticism is great, but in the NFL, if you're going to be a successful quarterback, your development as a passer is what matters the most."
A 56.2% passer his sophomore season, the 6'2", 216-pound Jackson hiked that up to 59.1% his junior year as he committed to stay in the pocket more. He threw for 57 touchdown passes and was intercepted 19 times while passing for 7,203 yards in 2016-17.
"You saw the accuracy get better and you saw the decision-making improve, but he still has areas where he needs to get better," Brugler said. "It's just whether or not if you are going to buy into him getting better."
Jackson opted not to participate in run drills in Indianapolis, reiterating that quarterback was strictly his position. He had an uneven workout Saturday, mixing in some good passes with errant tosses. But Jackson, who worked in the shotgun under Bobby Petrino for the Cardinals, has a different dimension than perhaps any player in the entire draft. When everything breaks down around him, Jackson can make something out of nothing.
"I'm very mobile. I can throw on the run," he said. "I can sit in the 'gun and throw it to any part of the field, any route and I have to speed to get us out of anything we're in trouble with."
In a league where defenses emphasize getting quarterbacks off their spots, Jackson will not be fazed by free rushers.
"I can avoid pressure. If a lineman breaks down and someone is coming free, I can break that and keep my eyes downfield," he said. "I feel like I can do that the best, keep my eyes downfield and try to find the open target."
There is work to be done in the weeks and months ahead in terms of footwork and mechanics. Jackson has talked about having a wider base and many pundits believe he has to become more consistent with outside routes. But Lamar Jackson is a playmaker and he believes the best is yet to come.
"It's going to be a different Lamar. It's going to be a leveled-up Lamar — not the same as college," he said. "I am going to level up a lot more. I have a lot of learning to do. I'm just ready."