Despite winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016 and being responsible for 42 touchdowns in his junior year the following season, plenty of NFL teams weren’t sold on Lamar Jackson as a quarterback as he entered the 2018 NFL Draft.
It was a strong quarterback draft class with Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, which made things even tougher on Jackson.
The Baltimore Ravens, however, were very high on Jackson, but they didn’t want any other teams to know that in hopes that they could snag him in the Draft if he fell a bit.
General manager Eric DeCosta, who was the assistant GM at the time of the Draft, explained how they kept things under wraps heading into the Draft and went as far as not even interviewing Jackson prior to picking him just to keep things hush hush.
“You kinda have to use a strategy,” DeCosta told ProFootballTalk. “We felt like there was a pretty good chance that Lamar might be there later in the first round, early part of the second round. We were willing, if we could, to trade back, trade back, accumulate capital and then possibly either try to trade back again or in a second round, make a play and get Lamar at that point. But, you know, it was a risk.”
“We didn’t even interview Lamar at the combine because we didn’t want to be associated with him. We didn’t want rumors about us and him to start. They didn’t. We were proud of that. So we pick him, and to hear him talk, and to hear his emotion and to see Lamar on TV with Deion Sanders, so happy, and to see his conviction, and to see his competitiveness. That’s a powerful thing. So, after the pick was announced, we hadn’t even had the chance to tell the scouts and coaches.”
The Ravens began the draft with the 16th overall pick in the Draft before flipping it for 22nd and 65th picks. They then moved back to 25th selecting tight end Hayden Hurst before making a trade with Philadelphia for the No. 32 pick where they picked Jackson.
Pretty good business from the Ravens, to say the least.
Jackson has been a human highlight reel throughout the season and is in the NFL MVP discussion. He’s led Baltimore to an 8-2 record with 25 total touchdowns, over 3,000 total yards and just five interceptions.