Ravens players in awe of Lamar Jackson, their ‘young Michael Vick’ – NFL Nation

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Lamar Jackson is still working on his accuracy, the playbook and working under center.

Where Jackson has dazzled this offseason is in the open field. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been a terror when he runs out of the pocket, showing off his speed and cutting ability.

While there is no tackling in offseason practices, there have been times when defenders have struggled to get a hand on Jackson.

“Every time he runs I’m in awe because most people — especially a quarterback — can’t move the way he does,” wide receiver Chris Moore said after the Ravens’ first day of mandatory minicamp. “So you just know that this year he’s going to make some plays, for sure.”

Jackson is perhaps the Ravens’ most explosive offensive player, which is a big reason why he has been lining up at multiple positions at times. The Ravens want to get him on the field immediately, and the best way is using Jackson and quarterback Joe Flacco at the same time.

Moving Jackson all over the field has created a challenge for the Ravens’ defense.

“It’s very creative,” Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “We don’t really know it’s going to work until we put it out there. It’s been giving us some problems on some of the plays. It’s cool just to see the way we can switch things up with quarterbacks. As long as we don’t have Joe [Flacco] doing too much running, that’s really all that matters.”

Running was a big part of Jackson’s game at Louisville. During the last two seasons, Jackson broke 36 runs for 20 yards or longer — which ranked as the third-most in college football and three more than Saquon Barkley.

This is certainly a different element to the Ravens’ offense. Since 2008, when Flacco entered the NFL, Baltimore quarterbacks have rushed for 1,009 yards, which is No. 25 in the NFL.

The Ravens, though, haven’t had a quarterback with the speed of Jackson, who didn’t run the 40-yard dash leading up to the draft but did say he was clocked at 4.34 seconds — with turf toe.

“Once he gets out of the pocket, it’s like watching a young Michael Vick,” Mosley said. “It’s amazing to watch. When you’re defending him, you just have to act like you’re tagging off — you don’t want to be on the highlight reel.”

Jackson has shown some good touch on the deep throws. He needs work on the intermediate throws to the sideline, where his passes tend to sail high. That’s why it will be at least another year before Jackson can compete for the starting quarterback job.

But Jackson can help the NFL’s No. 27 offense immediately with his burst and elusiveness.

“It’s fun to watch him,” Mosley said. “It’s good to see him out there making plays and being comfortable.”

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