Lamar Jackson opted not to run the 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine prior to being drafted. The Ravens quarterback noted he would have run a 4.3 in the 40 if he had competed in the event. According to the Courier-Journal, Jackson ran a 4.34 40-time back in 2017 at Louisville’s annual spring testing.
Jackson later noted that the test was done when he had turf toe.
“I ran it with turf toe, too,” Jackson explained to ESPN. “So, I don’t know what I really run.”
At the time of the combine, many were wondering whether Jackson could make it as an NFL quarterback. There was some talk Jackson should work out as a wide receiver, but Jackson was adamant that he wanted to play quarterback. Jackson tried to send a message to teams by only throwing the football at the combine.
Jackson explained his decision on a Ravens podcast per Pro Football Talk.
It was a Chargers scout who told me about it. He was the first one to come to me about it. I’m like, ‘What?’ He caught me off guard with it. I even made a face at first like, ‘What?’ I thought he was trying to be funny but he kept going with it. So it just became blown out of proportion.
So that was the first time I heard it, I was like, ‘What?’ Like he was like, ‘Oh, Lamar are you gonna go out for wide receiver routes?’ I was like . . . ‘No . . . I don’t recall saying that, I don’t remember telling you guys I’d go out for receiver routes.’ I’m like, ‘No, quarterback only.’ So that made me not run the 40 and participate in all the other stuff.
Jackson Played a Major Part in the Ravens Making the NFL Playoffs
Not only did Jackson get drafted as a quarterback by the Ravens with the No. 32 pick, he eventually beat out veteran Joe Flacco for the starting job. Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr compared their quarterback to a roadrunner.
“He’s like a roadrunner,” Carr explained to ESPN. “His feet go so fast. His vision and his feet are always on the same page. He’s out there just gliding. Some people are built like that. He has some different hamstrings or tendons down there.”
Jackson’s passing ability continues to be a work in progress. Jackson’s season-high is 204 passing yards, and he threw for less than 200 yards in five of the six games where he received the majority of snaps at quarterback. Jackson continues to hurt teams with his legs rushing for at least 70 yards in four games including 119 rushing yards against the Bengals.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn faced the Ravens earlier this season and noted Jackson’s speed is impossible to simulate in practice.
“It’s difficult to simulate, because he has such quickness and speed, like a wide receiver or a corner has, but he’s behind center,” Quinn told ESPN. “Simulating that speed at practice, that’s the most difficult part, because you could do it with a receiver for the run plays, but it’s not as authentic, because you can’t step back and rip the passes like normal.”