Former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson let the NFL know that he has just one position.
“I’m a quarterback,” Jackson said Friday at the NFL scouting combine.
Former NFL executive Bill Polian caused an uproar in football circles when he said that Jackson would make a great wide receiver.
“No teams have asked me to play wide receiver,” Jackson said. “I don’t know where it comes from. I’m strictly a quarterback.”
Jackson played three seasons at Louisville under former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino. He selected the school because Petrino ran a pro-style offense, and he had a chance to start as a freshman.
The speedy Jackson, who will not run the 40-yard dash at the combine, rushed for 1,571 yards as a sophomore and 1,601 as a junior. The knock on Jackson is that he is not an accurate passer.
He completed 619 of 1,086 passes (57.0 percent) for 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.
He won the Heisman Trophy after his sophomore season.
“We ran the (Ron) Erhardt system,” Jackson said. “Coach would probably call it from the sideline, and I would have to relay it to the line. My receivers had to look to the sideline to know what protection (was called). Simple stuff like that.”
Former Ohio State quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller converted to wide receiver in the NFL. Pryor is with the Redskins, and Miller plays for the Texans. Jackson has no plans to play wide receiver.
“I guess I won’t be going to their team, if anything,” Jackson said about teams that like him as a wide receiver. “Whoever likes me at quarterback, that’s where I’m going. That’s strictly my position.”
Jackson won’t even entertain the notion.
“Not at all,” Jackson said. “I’m not going to be a wide receiver, at all. No. Quarterback (is) my position. I’m a quarterback.”
Most draft analysts project four quarterbacks being selected in the first round ahead of Jackson.
UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield are all projected ahead of Jackson.
“That is crazy,” Jackson said. “I thought I did a good job at quarterback. I thought I did, but hey, they see what they want to see. I’m here now. I’m at the combine. I just have to show off my ability.”
Jackson plans to use the slights as motivation.
“I love putting a chip on my shoulder,” Jackson said. “I’ll just go out there and show my ability.”
Jackson is not hiring an agent. His mother will serve as his manager, and he’ll have a lawyer review any contract offers.
“I know coming in as a rookie that an agent doesn’t really negotiate anything,” Jackson said. “You get the salary that you are going to get. I decided that I don’t need him. He’s going to be taking a big cut of paycheck, and I feel that I deserve it right now.”
Jackson knows he’s not the traditional NFL quarterback and has been working on his fundamentals.
“I had a narrow stance in college,” Jackson said. “I do look at film and I know how to help myself. I’ve been working on that and working on my accuracy. That’s what I have to show off tomorrow. I feel that’s why they are doubting me right now.”
Jackson said he’s had interviewed with the Bills, Dolphins and Giants.
“If I have a chance to compete, that’s the team that I really want to go to,” Jackson said. “I want to learn as much as I can before the season starts. If I have to sit behind somebody and learn, a veteran, I have no problem with it.”
Jackson believes his speed and elusiveness is an asset.
“I can avoid pressure,” Jackson said. “If a lineman breaks down, I can avoid that and keep my eyes down field. I can do that with the best, keep my eyes down field and find the open target.”
Jackson believes he’s the top-rated quarterback in the draft.
“I feel like I am, but I don’t care what order that we are in,” he said. “We are all great quarterbacks. I know they feel the same way.”
Teams are intrigued by Jackson. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he was looking forward to watching Jackson work out. Also, Kansas City coach Andy Reid said he would give it a “whirl” at quarterback with Jackson.
“Well, you know I’m very mobile,” Jackson said. “I can throw on the run. I can throw to any part of the field. Any route, and I have speed to get out of trouble.”