Lamar Jackson is the most explosive and disrespected player in the 2018 NFL Draft. This is not up for debate. Faster than a Bugatti, Jackson is a cheat code, whose video-game like combination of speed, agility and arm strength remind pigskin enthusiast of the legendary Michael Vick -- who publicly stated the Pompano Beach-bred quarterback was five times better than he was in college. Despite Jackson’s tantalizing skill set, esteemed résumé and film, which shows off his growth as a field general at Louisville, scouts and NFL teams are still questioning his ability to play the position. Now, I don’t want to get into why so-called “football experts” have concocted a narrative on why he should switch from a position he’s played his entire life, but I will get into how he’s expertly finessed the draft process.
For one, Jackson hired a contract attorney instead of an agent. Although this makes the athlete more responsible for gauging interest from teams, which has its share of disadvantages, there are several pros to this arrangement. With a contract attorney, you cut costs by a hefty margin, get legal advice from an expert, who walks you through all the stipulations/legal jargon and have the freedom to set your own market value and negotiate your deal. We hear too many stories about money-hungry agents bleeding their clients dry whilst doing nothing. This won’t be the case for Jackson, who built a team of trustworthy individuals, including his momager (mom and manager), Felicia Jones, to help him navigate through the process. “I know coming in as a rookie, agents don’t negotiate anything really,” Jackson said at the NFL combine. “You know you’re gonna get the salary you’re gonna get, and I decided I don’t need [an agent]. He’s going to be taking a big cut of my paycheck anyways, and I feel I deserve it right now.” Jones, who's handled all of her son's football-related affairs since his peewee days not only trained him to play the position but put in the time and effort to be both mom and coach. “The best coach I’ve ever was also my first one: Mom,” the 2016 AP College Football Player of the Year penned to The Players’ Tribune. “She actually made me grind to get better. She had a vision for my football career before I even did.”
Another one of the more intriguing decisions Jackson’s made leading up to the draft involves his refusal to run for scouts at both the combine and Louisville’s Pro Day. He understands there’s absolutely no reason for him to clock a 4.4 40-yard dash or faster, and knows he can control the narrative by simply saying no when it comes to showing teams his most coveted skill. Instead, he focused on emphasizing the growth in his footwork and ability to complete passes from the pocket, displayed his intelligence and wowed personnel with his magnetic personality and ability to command a room -- pretty sure that’s what is required of a quarterback. For a player who's a Heisman Trophy winner and who compiled 9,043 passing yards, including two seasons with at least 3,500, he’s had to answer more questions about his ability to play the position than anyone in recent memory, including Tim Tebow, who would've been better served as an H-back :).