Patriots

Could Lamar Jackson be the next Jimmy G?

Could Lamar Jackson be the next Jimmy G?

The first of a five-part series looking at quarterbacks - and possible heirs to Tom Brady as the starter - the Patriots could draft. 

Who knows how long Tom Brady can keep spinning it the way he does, can keep defying Father Time? His oft-stated desire is to play until he’s 45 although recent developments suggest perhaps he’s rethinking that. Point is, there is no succession plan here in New England. He went out the door, now the current plan in San Francisco. So will the Patriots feel the need to find a signal caller in this draft? Considering the feelings about the class of 2019, it does seem like this is a now-or-forever-hold-your-peace-moment. 

That leads us to Lamar Jackson. A more dynamic and electrifying player you will not find in the Class of 2018. Jackson took the country by storm as a sophomore, winning the Heisman Trophy. He threw for 35-hundred yards and ran for nearly 1,600 more. He was responsible for 51 touchdowns. 51! 

Last season, the Louisville flash accounted for another 45 scores while improving his completion percentage for 56 to 59 percent. That was good enough to place him third in the Heisman voting while winning his second consecutive ACC Player of the Year award. But still, the question persists: is Jackson a quarterback or is he a receiver?

Former Colts GM Bill Polian drew fire for suggesting Jackson was too short (he’s 6’3”) and too slight to play the position. But there are plenty of others that believe Jackson’s inconsistent accuracy contrasted with his incredible playmaking ability suggest his best spot is on the edge as a runner/receiver not under center. 

Considering how the Patriots are willing to adapt their offense to utilize players special skills, might they be willing to do the same with Jackson were they to take the plunge and select him in the draft. Of course, they’d have to do that very high. Grades differ but Jackson appears to be a borderline first rounder and most certainly a second-rounder. The Pats have those multiple picks in those two rounds - 31, 43rd and 63rd - so they appear to fall in Jackson’s target range.

In watching Jackson, there are times where I thought “he’s got a chance to be a star” Against Florida State, facing pressure, Jackson dropped a 35-yard throw outside the numbers. The receiver was covered. The defensive back had no chance. That ball was put in a place where only the Louisville player could catch it. 

Jackson has a live arm and a clean delivery. The strength in that wing is evident but he can also throw the ball with touch. But his inconsistencies as a thrower show up every single week and can vary from throw to throw on the same drive. Can his mechanics be cleaned up enough to make that less common? 

Jackson also has issues throwing the ball in the middle of the field. Does that sound like a quarterback who fits what the Pats want to do? Thus far, the team hasn’t been linked to Jackson in any way, shape or form but as we well know, that doesn’t mean a damn thing. I’m sure they’ve done their homework. 

Might the lure of this big play artist who wouldn’t need to be rushed with Brady still on the roster appeal to Bill Belichick? We know that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had no problem thinking outside the box, selecting Tim Tebow during his brief tenure as the head coach in Denver. McDaniels wasn’t afraid to rework the plan. Maybe with McDaniels’ growing influence in the organization, Jackson climbs their draft board. This kid is intriguing, and he's charismatic, but in the end, the erratic nature of his play would make me take a pass. Then again, I don't have the future of an organization riding on my shoulders. 

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

Over the past 20 years, Tom Brady has established himself as one of the greatest and most beloved athletes in Boston sports history.

But if Brady leaves New England for a new team in free agency this offseason, would that leave a stain on his Patriots legacy? Fellow Boston sports legend David Ortiz doesn't believe so.

The former Red Sox slugger recently spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com about Brady's impending free agency. According to Ortiz, leaving Foxboro behind ahead of his age-43 season won't take away from anything Brady has accomplished with the Pats in the past two decades.

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"His legacy has already been built. It’s always there," Ortiz told Bradford. "That’s not the problem. His problem is not going to be legacy. He could go and play somewhere else for the next 10 years when he returns to New England his legacy is going to be there.

"It’s a good thing to do but you also have to look at your options. I hope he stays with the Patriots, but it’s not up to what I say. It’s his decision. Sometimes an offer at home might be a couple of million less than what you could get on the road. It’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it."

Brady will officially become an unrestricted free agent if he and Patriots don't agree to a contract extension by March 18. Several teams are expected to be in the mix to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, with the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders as two of the most likely destinations.

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