Cleveland Browns draft profile: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 18: Lamar Jackson /

The Cleveland Browns have a lot to think about in the 2018 NFL Draft. Should those thoughts include Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson?

There’s not many players in the 2018 NFL Draft more exciting to watch than Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s a playmaker that can take it to the house on any snap, but is there enough upside that a team like the Cleveland Browns should consider targeting him?

Surely if the Browns don’t take a signal-caller at No. 1, the fans will react in pure anger. That’s understandable considering how long they’ve been waiting for a guy they can believe in.

Could someone like Jackson make them happy though? Let’s look deeper at what he brings to the table.


Jackson comes off as an incredibly mature person, who sadly lost his father early in life from a car accident. He seems to have formed a strong relationship with his mother and they are ready to see the young man take the next step in his life.

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The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner can use that maturity and leadership he’s shown to get teammates to rally around him. While a lot of people may discount those “off-field” traits, they are huge.

On the field, he’s got a strong enough arm to succeed anywhere and is far and away the fastest quarterback int he draft. He’s also smooth with his motion as his mechanics when passing the ball need no work at all.

When running the ball, he has the vision of a Pro Bowl running back and wastes no time making his cuts. He also shows toughness and a willingness to finish the runs. Although in the NFL, he will need to work on that as there’s always a time for a quarterback to slide and move on to the next play.

Areas to improve on

First and foremost, Jackson needs to work on accuracy. He can miss wide on a throw one play, then fire in a deep pass on the next right into his receiver’s hands. He also has a tendancy to play hero ball — one example was a pass we threw up for grabs in an early September game against North Carolina.

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On that play he was in the grasp, and as he was going down he threw the ball towards the end zone. It floated dangerously through the air but he was fortunate no Tar Heels could catch up to it.

Jackson needs to take snaps from under center more often as the majority of his work was done out of the shotgun. The Louisville quarterback also needs to work on his progression reads as he has a tendency to stare down the primary receiver and often doesn’t go look at all his route runners.


Jackson has a ton of traits to work with. He’s tough and a true leader. On top of that, he’s a playmaker like almost no one else in the draft.

He’s as his best taking snaps in shotgun and reading the defense on zone reads. While that’s an acceptable way to win in the college game, it won’t work in the NFL full time. It could however be a set of plays sprinkled in, but for Jackson to succeed he will have to threaten teams with his arm.

Fortunately, he seems to have the tools to learn how to do this. His height is good and he’s shown the smarts to step up in the pocket to buy time as edge rushers are closing in.

He shows a smooth throwing motion and could be a viable NFL starter if given time to work with a smart quarterback coach that understands what he needs to work on and what parts of his game can still work at the next level.

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The Browns may not be willing to wait for a quarterback, but it would be exciting to see what Jackson could do after sitting behind Tyrod Taylor for a season or two.