There’s this notion being thrown out there in the NFL Draft sphere that the Baltimore Ravens could actually replace quarterback Lamar Jackson with someone like Ohio State’s Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ridiculous? A sure sign that it’s silly season of the draft cycle just days away from the annual occasion? Absolutely, yes.
But that isn’t stopping prominent analysts such as Bucky Brooks of NFL Network and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio from pushing this phantom narrative.
Florio wrote a recent column that contained Brooks’ original remarks, and actually agreed with him that it’s not a completely outrageous idea for the Ravens to replace Jackson with Fields:
“They [could] take a collegiate approach to the quarterback position. They cash in on a Justin Fields. And then maybe they operate like a college team. One quarterback graduates, the other quarterback steps into the starter’s role. You now have the opportunity to keep a starting quarterback potentially on a young deal, build up the rest of the assets, and then play smash mouth football the way that they play, and continue to build a better team around the quarterback. It’s something to think about.”NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks on Baltimore Ravens replacing Lamar Jackson with Justin Fields
I’m sorry, what?
This apparently isn’t a joke.
Yes, Fields has tremendous upside and is getting undeservedly knocked for perceived slights in his game that may or may not be true. However, to move off a quarterback who’s shown improvement every single year and had a huge breakthrough with his first playoff victory last postseason is outrageous.
Patrick Mahomes proves Lamar Jackson extension won’t crush Ravens
In his first true, full season as an NFL starter, Jackson won the NFL MVP award. Last season, he played a lot better than most seem to remember, and his slight dip in passing stats can be attributed to horrible weapons around him and a highly predictable scheme.
How about giving Jackson a legitimate No. 1 receiver for a change, Baltimore? Maybe then the Ravens signal-caller can unlock the full extent of his passing abilities, and will be worth that gaudy contract extension.
Just a year after Patrick Mahomes won MVP honors, he carried the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory. He had Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to help him. Jackson doesn’t have anyone close to that caliber right now and never has. The Chiefs found a way to pay Mahomes, Hill, Kelce and plenty of other stars — and are still thriving.
Pro Football Focus ranked Kansas City’s receiving corps second in the NFL entering 2020. Baltimore’s was 25th out of 32 teams.
Is another QB going to seamlessly crush it in Lamar Jackson’s offense?
To assume Fields will plug right in and ball out in the one-of-one system the Ravens have built around Jackson is a stretch to say the least. Fields is completely unproven at the NFL level. Throwing him into an offense that is so different from any other and assuming it’ll work is misguided thinking.
It feels weird to have to repeat this, but it seems like Brooks and Florio forget that Jackson was very recently named league MVP.
Jackson is like Mahomes in that he’s a QB the likes of which we’ve never really seen before. Do you think Kansas City is upset about Mahomes’ extension?
The Chiefs just played in the Super Bowl again. It stands to reason Jackson’s eventual extension will be team-friendly, similar to Mahomes’, as the Ravens try to capitalize on Jackson’s absolute prime and build a strong team around him.
Hitting on a first-round QB twice in four years? Good luck
Letting such a special talent like Jackson go in favor of Fields just makes absolutely no sense on any level. Hitting on a first-round quarterback is hard enough as it is. The hit rate is about 50-50. Baltimore traded back into the first round to select Jackson with the 32nd pick, and he’s been an absolute home run — nay, a grand slam.
It’s asking a lot of Fields to live up to that billing and become an NFL MVP himself by his second season, or at least playing at a similarly elite level.
Ravens fans, just ignore any talk of Fields or another QB replacing Jackson. Baltimore is going to do all it can to get an extension done with Jackson. this is one of the best organizations in all of sports. They’ll be smart about it, Jackson will get the massive payday he’s earned, and the Ravens will continue contending for championships in the coming years.
It’d be one thing if Jackson had a nightmarish start to his career like Josh Rosen. The Arizona Cardinals replaced him with Kyler Murray and haven’t looked back. But yeah, Rosen was the flip side of that 50-50. A bust. A big swing and a miss.
Look at another member of the 2018 class in addition to Rosen. The New York Jets are already about to take a mulligan on Sam Darnold this year, likely selecting Zach Wilson second overall. Darnold, to this point, has been a bust. Again, 50-50.
Jackson has already established himself as a superstar. The best running QB we’ve ever seen, with plenty of throwing ability to back that up. He just turned 24 years old in January.
What are we talking about here?
I feel like my brain is breaking from the stupidity of this scenario. Bring on the draft. The Ravens have the 27th and 31st picks. Maybe they’ll trade both for a receiver like Allen Robinson, or draft an actually-good one.