Lamar Jackson Compares Ravens Rookie to All-Pro

Lamar Jackson

Getty Lamar Jackson has compared one Ravens rookie to an All-Pro.

Lamar Jackson knows how important Mark Andrews is to the Baltimore Ravens offense. The All-Pro tight end is Jackson’s go-to receiver, and the Ravens don’t have another member of the passing game who can amass catches, yards and touchdowns in the same way.

Not until now at least. Jackson is seeing welcome similarities between Andrews and one member of this year’s draft class.

The fourth-round pick plays the same position as Andrews and has been catching the eye during training camp. Jackson has been impressed enough to compare this rookie to his favorite target.

4th-Round Pick Already Drawing Elite Comparisons

Isaiah Likely has made enough plays during the first few days of training camp to earn lofty praise from his quarterback. Jackson dubbed the intriguing Coastal Carolina product “a baby Mark (Andrews),” per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic:

That’s high praise indeed considering how rapidly Andrews has developed into one of the NFL’s elite tight ends. The 26-year-old tallied 107 catches for 1,361 yards last season.

Those career-best numbers were achieved despite Jackson missing five games with an ankle injury. Andrews and the rest of Baltimore’s receivers also enjoyed little support from a rushing attack stalled by season-ending injuries to running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.

Their absences, combined with the lack of a true No. 1 wide receiver, put the onus on Andrews to carry the offense. It was a bar he met and cleared with room to spare.

There’s no sign of his connection with Jackson weakening, based on the early action in camp, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley:

The same source noted how Jackson “completed 18-of-25 (72%) passes, which included a couple of drops. There were a lot of completions to Mark Andrews, which is not surprising.”

While the Jackson to Andrews partnership remains prolific, the Ravens would be wise to reduce their reliance on No. 89 this season. Defenses are sure to gang up on Andrews during 2022, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman needs to guard against the passing game becoming predictable.

That’s where Likely, who was one of six players taken in the fourth round, along with fellow tight end Charlie Kolar, can enter the fray and have an immediate impact.

Early Signs Point to Instant Impact from Key Rookie

Jackson’s description of Likely as “like a WR but a tight end’s body” is telling. Not only does it sum up the move skills and quickness of the 6’4″, 245-pounder. It also hints at why Likely should be an instant hit as a rookie.

His ability to line up and act like a wide receiver will mask weaknesses at a problem position for the Ravens. Sammy Watkins joining the Green Bay Packers in free agency, followed by Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown being traded to the Arizona Cardinals on draft day, has left the cupboard bare at wideout.

Second-year player Rashod Bateman leads an experienced group featuring Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Tylan Wallace. None of those names will give defensive coordinators sleepless nights this season, but Likely is a different story.

He can be a size mismatch against cornerbacks and too speedy for linebackers and safeties to stay with in man coverage. Jackson tried out Likely’s vertical speed on this highlight-worthy play at camp:

Glimpses of talent like this have earned the player drafted 139th overall praise from Andrews, who sees the same things Jackson is seeing, per team staff writer Clifton Brown: “He’s really fluid. When he sees something open, he takes it. He’s got a little bit of me in him, for sure.”

If Likely even comes close to matching what Andrews has already achieved, the Ravens will have a versatile weapon capable of adding a whole new threat level to their aerial offense.

Read More