It’s time for the Broncos to start taking Lamar Jackson seriously

Dec 30, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) looks to throw the ball during the second half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

On March 14th, fans will finally start to get a better understanding of who will be the future quarterback of the Denver Broncos. While there are plenty of opinions going around regarding who the Broncos will pursue, none of it means anything until free agency begins. The Broncos will either engage in talks with a free-agent quarterback like Kirk Cousins or will stay quiet in the free agency and look for a solution in the draft.

While most talk centers around USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Louisville quarterback and former Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson is often overlooked — but that’s a mistake, according to former Broncos coach Dan Reeves, who sees in Jackson similarities to one of the most talented mobile quarterback in NFL history: Michael Vick.

Reeves joined Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to talk about his experiences after drafting Vick when he coached the Atlanta Falcons, and why he thinks that Jackson could be a good fit for the Broncos.

When asked if the NFL has changed, or if most football personnel assume quarterbacks who are mobile have shortened careers due to that style of play, Reeves said, “Anytime you have a quarterback that scrambles and does things with his feet, there’s always going be a question, but I think its been shown with a whole bunch of quarterbacks that it’s a great weapon to have — the ability to make plays after you get rushed away from the pocket.”

Reeves drafted Vick first overall in 2001 as head coach of the Falcons, and traded for John Elway when he was in Denver. Both moves were questioned around the league, but the doubters couldn’t have been more wrong. Vick was a four-time Pro Bowl player and still holds the NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback, while Elway is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame player.

Vick had the chance to watch Jackson in person against Florida State and had plenty to say about him, telling NFL.com, “I could not believe what I had seen. I could not believe the things he was able to do. It was a spitting image of me.” High praise from one of the most dynamic players in NFL history.

While Lamar Jackson is just 21 years old, he certainly has the pedigree to be in the discussion for Broncos. Jackson was the first quarterback in NCAA history to have consecutive seasons with over 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards, he shattered the school record for most total yards in a career with 13,175 yards over three seasons and also holds the ACC conference record for most touchdowns in a season with a whopping 51.

In Michael Vick’s two-year college career he was a Heisman nominee twice but never won. Over his time at Virginia Tech, he had 4,598 total yards for his career with 38 career touchdowns. Cam Newton was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft; he was named NFL MVP in 2015 and also has a Super Bowl appearance under his belt. In his college career, Newton had 4,494 total yards with 54 career touchdowns and won the Heisman in 2010.

Both quarterbacks had college statistics that, while impressive, come nowhere close to Jackson’s, yet they became the first pick of the draft and have/had amazing careers — yet Jackson, for some reason, hasn’t been in that discussion.

The Broncos have always been interested in a quarterback who can throw the ball downfield while being mobile yet enough to move outside the pocket to either extend the play or pull it down and make plays on his feet. Jackson has shown he can stand in the pocket and throw dimes all over the field, plus he has the escapability to move outside the pocket, extend the play and gain valuable yards with his feet — and he’s proven it for three seasons.

With the fifth pick in the draft and Jackson being on the back burner of most teams’ quarterback lists, there may be potential to trade the pick and turn it into more. The Broncos could easily add a late first-round pick, where Jackson should be available. If the Broncos are still after a dual-threat quarterback, why not gamble on one of he finest ones that the college world has ever seen?

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