During his rookie season, Lamar Jackson went 6-1 with the Ravens and provided a late-season spark that resulted in a trip to the playoffs. That, combined with snippets and his uber-athleticism may have been enough to convince some that he has the ability to be one of the better quarterbacks in the game. However, some deficiencies in the passing game have others wanting to see more before they make that statement.
NBC Sports' Chris Simms falls in the latter, ranking Jackson No. 30 in his Top 40 Quarterbacks for the 2019 NFL season rankings on his podcast "Unbuttoned." For Simms, it was a mixture of positives mixed with multiple "what ifs?" that led to the analyst putting him where he did.
Starting with the positives, Simms, like many others, is impressed with Jackson's athleticism. His ability as a runner is a plus, but Simms also believes that Jackson has the arm talent as well.
"There's of course the athleticism I love. Some of the throws I love," Simms said. "He shows potential to be a special passer at times."
Simms also gave Jackson credit for leading Baltimore to a second-half surge and an appearance in the postseason, viewing it as an impressive feat for any rookie in any situation. Yet even with his early success on paper, Simms sees some glaring problems in his passing game tape.
"There are major issues with technique and consistency in his throwing," Simms said. "That's my big concern with Lamar Jackson."
Evident in some of his performances, specifically the AFC Wild Card Round against the Chargers, Jackson is still somewhat raw as a passer.
As Simms sees it, a few of the main issues lie in his footwork. Citing that Jackson keeps his feet too narrow and locks his right leg, Simms believes those techniques need to be fixed in order for Jackson to avoid costly mistakes.
Like many, Simms sees the potential in Jackson. However, that alone doesn't fully sell him on the quarterback just yet.
"The reason I don't have him rated higher, because I think if you look at 6-1, went to the playoffs as a rookie, all good I get it," Simms said. "But, I just gotta see more in the passing game first before I can put him there."
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