Which NFL teams goofed the most by not drafting Lamar Jackson in 2018?

Which NFL teams goofed the most by not drafting Lamar Jackson in 2018?

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(**)The (******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) (***)NFL Draft(****) is far in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean Lamar Jackson has forgotten about the teams that passed on him. Jackson was taken at No. (**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) overall by the (*****)Ravens(****), and he had to see four quarterbacks in his class drafted before him. (******)
(*******)By the end of that season, he was the only one of those rookies to make a start in the postseason. He’s kept that pace alive in (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************), when his Ravens stand atop a depleted AFC North and look stronger every week. Jackson planted his flag as a potential MVP candidate by becoming the youngest quarterback to beat Bill Belichick (and his 8-0 (********)Patriots(****)) (*********)in (***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) years(****). (******)
(**********)(***********)The former Heisman Trophy winner has had a better start to his career(****) than the four quarterbacks selected ahead of him: (************)Baker Mayfield(****), (*************)Sam Darnold(****), (**************)Josh Allen(****), and Josh Rosen. (***************)If you compare their stats(****), Jackson has the best record as a starter, the best passer rating, the best TD-INT ratio, and most rushing yards (by a lot). (******)
(****************)There’s no questioning that (*****************)Jackson is a unique talent(****), one that many teams in the NFL wish they could have at quarterback. Most of them had a chance to draft him, too.(******)
(******************)Let’s take a look at the teams that passed on Jackson and see if they would’ve been better off taking him.(*******************)
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(**********************)(***********************)Cleveland Browns(************************)(****): No. Theoretically, they’d be better off with Jackson and without having to face him twice a year. But c’mon, you know the Browns would’ve ruined him. Have you (*************************)seen Baker Mayfield lately(****)?(**************************)(***************************)
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(***************************************)2.(***********************) (************************)(****************************************)(***********************)New York Giants(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************)Yes. (*****************************************)Saquon Barkley(****) is a dynamic player. But you know what’s better? A dynamic player who can run AND throw! Plus, they could’ve started the post-(******************************************)Eli Manning(****) era a year earlier.(******)
(*******************************************)3. (********************************************)(***********************)New York Jets(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************)Yes. The Jets opted for (*********************************************)Sam Darnold(****) over Jackson. This season, (**********************************************)Darnold(****) has had a slew of odd injuries, including being diagnosed with strep and mono simultaneously, (***********************************************)an enlarged spleen, and needing a toenail removed(****). Jackson has stayed healthy — and doesn’t throw nearly as many (************************************************)baffling red zone interceptions(****).(******)
(*************************************************)4. (***********************)Cleveland Browns(************************): See No. 1. The Browns destroy everything they touch, and leaving Jackson to get his ACL exploded behind Cleveland’s porous offensive line would be a lesser tragedy.(******)
(**************************************************)5. (***************************************************)(***********************)Denver Broncos(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************)Oh, hell yes. Instead, the Broncos settled for the quarterback the Ravens benched for Jackson. (******)
(****************************************************)But also no, because there’s no way general manager John Elway looked at Jackson’s 6’2 frame and thought anything other than “(*****************************************************)there’s someone I can mold into a (**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)-yard receiver(****).”(******)
(******************************************************)6.(***********************) (************************)(*******************************************************)(***********************)Indianapolis Colts(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************)No, even though (********************************************************)Andrew Luck(****) opted for early retirement. (*********************************************************)Jacoby Brissett(****) has done a nice job taking over for (**********************************************************)Luck(****) and has helped put the Colts in good position to win the AFC South.(******)
(***********************************************************)7. (************************************************************)(***********************)Buffalo Bills(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************)Probably. The Bills chose to draft quarterback (*************************************************************)Josh Allen(****) over Jackson. (**************************************************************)Allen(****) has a winning record as a starter and is poised to get the Bills back in the playoffs. So yes, Buffalo is doing all right with a pretty good running quarterback — but what if it had a (***************************************************************)great(****************************************************************) one?(******)
(*****************************************************************)8. (******************************************************************)(***********************)Chicago Bears(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************) Lol, yes. The Bears already had (*******************************************************************)Mitchell Trubisky(****), who’s proving he’s (********************************************************************)nowhere close to being a franchise quarterback(****). He’s near the bottom in the NFL in most major categories — as is the Chicago offense and running game. Yeah, (*********************************************************************)Matt Nagy(****) could use Jackson right now.(******)
(**********************************************************************)9.(***********************) (************************)(***********************************************************************)(***********************)San Francisco (*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)ers(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************) No. As much fun as it would be to watch Jackson in a Kyle Shanahan offense, (************************************************************************)Jimmy Garoppolo is lighting it up(****) for the red-hot (*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)ers.(******)
(*************************************************************************)(********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (**************************************************************************)(***********************)Arizona Cardinals(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************) Yes. Picking Josh Rosen over Jackson proved to be a mistake. While they got (***************************************************************************)Kyler Murray(****) in (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************), imagine how Jackson would fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s freewheeling offense (assuming Jackson wouldn’t have won enough games in (******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) to keep Steve Wilks on the sideline).(******)
(****************************************************************************)(*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*****************************************************************************)(***********************)Miami Dolphins(************************)(****)(***********************): (************************) Tough call, depending on how much faith you have in (****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)’s draft class. With Jackson, you wouldn’t have to worry about (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)’s inescapable tank job — although you run the risk of him being sold off for a future first, just like the team’s actual pick here, (******************************************************************************)Minkah Fitzpatrick(****), was.(******)
(*******************************************************************************)(******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (********************************************************************************)(***********************)Tampa Bay Buccaneers(************************)(****): Yes. Jameis Winston is a free agent in (****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). He’s also not very good as an NFL quarterback — he has more interceptions than anyone else in the league since being drafted in (********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************).(******)
(*********************************************************************************)(*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)Washington(************************): Yes. The Alex Smith experiment didn’t work out for unfortunate reasons, but this team needed a young franchise QB even before the former (**********************************************************************************)Chiefs(****)’ passer was knocked out of the lineup. Now Dwayne Haskins gets to deal with all this dysfunction instead. (******)
(***********************************************************************************)(****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (************************************************************************************)(***********************)New Orleans Saints(************************)(****): No. Teddy Bridgewater has been an excellent insurance policy for (*************************************************************************************)Drew Brees(****) (and (**************************************************************************************)Taysom Hill(****) has been an excellent insurance policy for Bridgewater).(******)
(***************************************************************************************)(***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (****************************************************************************************)(***********************)Oakland Raiders(************************)(****): No. (*****************************************************************************************)Derek Carr has bounced back to Pro Bowl form(****) thanks in part to the left tackle the Raiders selected at this spot, Kolton Miller. Carr’s still just (**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) years old and under contract through (***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). While it would have been fun to see Jon Gruden figure out the most creative way to waste Jackson’s talent, a game-shifting mobile QB doesn’t really fit with Gruden’s late-(*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)s throwback roster approach.(******)
(******************************************************************************************)(**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)Buffalo Bills(************************). See No. 7. The Bills used this pick to select (*******************************************************************************************)Tremaine Edmunds(****), who has become an important cog in their intimidating defensive machine. They’d easily make that choice again.(******)
(********************************************************************************************)(*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*********************************************************************************************)(***********************)Los Angeles Chargers(************************)(****): No. Philip Rivers is going to play for (**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) more years, making it back to the AFC title game once. (**********************************************************************************************)Derwin James(****), who was drafted here, should be healthy again one day, too. .(******)
(***********************************************************************************************)(************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Green Bay Packers(************************)(****): No. Aaron Rodgers still looks great in his mid-(************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)s, even if he took a few games to get acclimated to new head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. But the Pack fell apart without him in (*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************), and stopgaps like (*************************************************************************************************)Brett Hundley(****) and (**************************************************************************************************)DeShone Kizer(****) proved to be low-wattage replacements. Jackson would help fill that hole — but he’s also be buried behind a two-time MVP on the Green Bay roster.(******)
(***************************************************************************************************)(***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************).(***********************) (************************)(****************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Dallas Cowboys(************************)(****): No. Dak Prescott is pretty good and occasionally great. He’s about to sign a mega-extension in Texas, and (*****************************************************************************************************)Leighton Vander Esch(****), who the Cowboys picked at (***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************)th overall, was a Pro Bowler as a rookie. It’s safe to say Jerry Jones is happy with his decision.(******)
(******************************************************************************************************)(**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*******************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Detroit Lions(************************)(****): No. Matthew Stafford is having the best season of his career and is, somehow, only (***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) years old. In this draft, Detroit took (********************************************************************************************************)Frank Ragnow(****), who should have a fruitful career keeping his veteran QB upright from the center of the Lions’ line.(******)
(*********************************************************************************************************)(*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (**********************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Cincinnati Bengals(************************)(****): (***************************************************************)Hellllll(****************************************************************) yes. They have a legitimate chance to go 0-(**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) in (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) and they benched (***********************************************************************************************************)Andy Dalton(****) for rookie Ryan Finley. And they have to face Jackson twice a year.(******)
(************************************************************************************************************)(********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Tennessee Titans(************************)(****): Yes. Tennessee swapped out (**************************************************************************************************************)Marcus Mariota(****) for (***************************************************************************************************************)Ryan Tannehill(****), which is like replacing a Honda Civic with a Toyota Corolla. Neither is under contract for (****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************).(******)
(****************************************************************************************************************)(*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)New England Patriots(************************): Yes. Bill Belichick would absolutely like to have a do-over, if only to keep Jackson from gashing the Patriots’ defense again. Plus, (*****************************************************************************************************************)Tom Brady(****) will need a replacement at some point (his passer rating has declined in each of the past three seasons) and (******************************************************************************************************************)Jarrett Stidham(****), for all his preseason glory, probably isn’t the answer.(******)
(*******************************************************************************************************************)(******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (********************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Carolina Panthers(************************)(****): Kinda. It all depends on (*********************************************************************************************************************)Cam Newton(****)’s health going forward. (**********************************************************************************************************************)Newton(****)’s (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) season ended after just two games, (***********************************************************************************************************************)and his future in Carolina is a bit uncertain(****). While Kyle (************************************************************************************************************************)Allen(****)’s been solid as a backup, Jackson working his way into the lineup in (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) when (*************************************************************************************************************************)Newton(****) went down with injury would have been a revelation for the Panthers.(******)
(**************************************************************************************************************************)(*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)Baltimore Ravens(************************): Yes, (***************************************************************)teeechnically(****************************************************************). Baltimore should have drafted Jackson here instead of potentially letting another team grab him. The Ravens ended up selecting Hayden Hurst. He has (*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) catches in (**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) career NFL games, is already (****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) years old, and has failed to outshine (******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) third-round tight end (***************************************************************************************************************************)Mark Andrews(****). (******)
(****************************************************************************************************************************)(****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*****************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Atlanta Falcons(************************)(****): No. Matt Ryan isn’t the problem in Atlanta. Everything else (minus the wide receiver corps) is.(******)
(******************************************************************************************************************************)(***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*******************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Seattle Seahawks(************************)(****): No. Russell Wilson has never missed a game in his career and he’s finally getting the MVP hype he deserves.(******)
(********************************************************************************************************************************)(**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*********************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Pittsburgh Steelers(************************)(****): Yes. Ben Roethlisberger might have a few good seasons left in him, but (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) won’t be one of them. The team eventually made its exit strategy for Big Ben clear by selecting (**********************************************************************************************************************************)Mason Rudolph(****) in the third round of the (******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) draft — and he’s been a capable, if unexciting backup. It would have been fun to see what Jackson could do for the Steelers, who now have to battle him in the AFC North.(******)
(***********************************************************************************************************************************)(*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Jacksonville Jaguars(************************)(****): Yes. Why draft Jackson when you could sign (*************************************************************************************************************************************)Blake Bortles(****) and (**************************************************************************************************************************************)Nick Foles(****) for (***************************************************************************************************************************************)a combined $(****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) million in consecutive offseasons(****)? (****************************************************************************************************************************************)Minshew Mania is over(****), at least for now. They definitely goofed by taking (*****************************************************************************************************************************************)Taven Bryan(****) rather than Jackson.(******)
(******************************************************************************************************************************************)(************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (*******************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Minnesota Vikings(************************)(****): No. Kirk Cousins got (********************************************************************************************************************************************)a fully guaranteed $(******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) million(****) about a month before the (******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************) NFL Draft, so taking a first-round quarterback was off the table. Sometimes it looks like a mistake, other times Cousins looks like an MVP. Either way, Jackson wasn’t a real option for the Vikings.(******)
(*********************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)New England Patriots(************************): Yes. See No. (*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (**********************************************************************************************************************************************)Isaiah Wynn(****) has been a solid left tackle when healthy and (***********************************************************************************************************************************************)Sony Michel(****) was a postseason workhorse who helped carry the Pats to a (************************************************************************************************************************************************)Super Bowl(****) win as a rookie, but neither may be as valuable as a viable escape route (******)
(*************************************************************************************************************************************************)(**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************). (***********************)Baltimore Ravens(************************): Hey, good job! The Ravens traded up from the second round to snag Jackson with the last pick of Day 1. It’s worked out.(******)
(**************************************************************************************************************************************************)As for the three teams that didn’t have a first-round pick: (*******************)
(***************************************************************************************************************************************************)(****************************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Philadelphia Eagles(************************)(****): No. The Eagles passed up their chance to get Jackson by trading this pick to the Ravens on draft night and would do it again (only for a bigger ransom). (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************)Carson Wentz(****) was briefly an MVP candidate. He might not get there again and has yet to play in the postseason, but he still looks pretty good in Philly.(******)
(******************************************************************************************************************************************************)(*******************************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Houston Texans(************************)(****): No, they’re set with (********************************************************************************************************************************************************)Deshaun Watson(****).(******)
(*********************************************************************************************************************************************************)(**********************************************************************************************************************************************************)(***********************)Los Angeles Rams(************************)(****): No, even if (***********************************************************************************************************************************************************)Jared Goff(****) is reverting to his rookie year, Jeff Fisher-coached form in (*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************).(******)
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