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Debate over Lamar Jackson brings up same old tropes about Black quarterbacks

The issue of Lamar Jackson, University of Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman winner, has caused everyone around the NFL to lose their shit.

Lamar Jackson was an amazing college quarterback. He’s one of the best athletes in the upcoming draft. But NFL talent evaluators are seemingly trying to find every possible excuse to not take this dude seriously as a quarterback.

Former Colts general manager and current ESPN talking head Bill Polian said Jackson doesn’t stack up favorably to the other top quarterbacks in the draft this season. According to Polian, Jackson doesn’t have the GIRTH of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, or Josh Rosen. In fact, Polian thinks Jackson is a wide receiver:

“I don’t think that Lamar, the Louisville kid’s in that discussion, in fact there’s a question that he may be, he might be a receiver… No, I’m not kidding you. And that has to do with girth and skill set as well.”

GIRTH, folks. Ya gotta have GIRTH to play the quarterback position in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. Everyone knows this.

The issue here is that Lamar Jackson measures up pretty favorably to other top-level quarterbacks. He’s not a huge dude, but at 6’3″ and 216 pounds, he ain’t no tweener.

In typical weird-ass NFL combine style, people started bringing out the Body Mass Indexes and comparing Jackson to his main competitors.

Mel Kiper, the draft guru with the worst hair of all-time, got caught when he claimed that “stats are for losers” in reference to Josh Allen’s completion percentage, then turned around and used Jackson’s college completion percentage (.8 decimal points higher than Allen’s) as a knock against the Louisville quarterback.

Now, with the NFL combine this weekend in Indianapolis, multiple teams have reportedly asked Lamar Jackson to take reps at wide receiver. This begs the question, why the hell would you ask a dude who threw for over 9,000 yards, had a 142.9 passer rating, and had a 69 (nice) to 27 touchdown to interception ratio during his college career? Not to mention, he won the damn Heisman Trophy.

When it comes to Black quarterbacks, we’ve seen this whole thing before…

Deion Sanders Jr. took issue with the various excuses NFL talking heads have offered up in their criticism of Jackson that just don’t add up.

Philadelphia Eagles lineman, Super Bowl champion, and resident woke white dude, Chris Long went on a long Twitter rant about the situation.

Look, no one really has any idea if Jackson will be any good in the NFL. No one knows if Allen, Rosen, or Darnold will be any good either. Therein lies the random, arbitrary nature of NFL prospect scouting.

But all these old tropes and codes about Jackson not “making reads,” not “having the size,” or being a “run first” quarterback are all so fucking familiar and dumb. To ignore the role that race plays in these evaluations is just disingenuous.

Ron Jaworski, who spends many important hours of his life obsessing over THE FILM, says Jackson is a star.

NBC NFL draft writer Josh Norris has a pretty awesome breakdown of Lamar Jackson tape.

The kid is wildly talented. He’s a quarterback. Trying to move him to wide receiver is very dumb and just plain ol’ racist.

I’m drafting Lamar Jackson every damn time.