Saying Lamar Jackson should switch to wide receiver in the NFL is flat-out lazy

Opinions on NFL draft prospects always vary, especially when it comes to quarterbacks.

If recent mock drafts are to be believed, there could be as many as five or six quarterbacks selected in the first round of the April draft. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is usually included in that mix, but some are still skeptical how the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner’s skillset will translate to the next level.

One of those critics is Bill Polian. The longtime NFL executive now works for ESPN and Monday morning he fired off this take on Golic and Wingo:

Polian thinks Jackson, who threw for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns while rushing for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns at Louisville, is best suited as a wide receiver at the next level.

“Exceptional athlete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s (Antonio Brown) and who else? Name me another one who is like that. Julio (Jones) is not even like that,” Polian said.

“This guy is incredible in the open field and has a great ability to separate.”

All of those things are true, except for one thing: Jackson is a quarterback.

Polian continued: “Again, he’s short and little bit slight. Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there. So I would say don’t wait to make that change (to wide receiver). Don’t be like the kid from Ohio State (Terrelle Pryor) and be 29 when you make the change.”

(AP Photo/David Stephenson, File)

There is no doubt whatsoever that Jackson has room for improvement as a passer, so there is validity to what Polian said (except for the whole “short” thing. Since when is 6-foot-3 short?). But to outright say Jackson should move to wide receiver just because he is an incredible athlete is flat-out lazy. Jackson’s accuracy was an issue at Louisville (his career completion percentage was 57.0), but for every throw he missed, he made three or four incredible plays — with his arm or legs — that nobody else in this draft class could come close to replicating.

All of the top quarterbacks in this class have flaws, but nobody says Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen or Josh Allen should switch positions. Only Jackson.

Polian first offered the wide receiver line back in September, which makes me believe he didn’t pay attention to the strides Jackson took as a passer from his sophomore to his junior year.

Just look at some of these plays he made in 2017:

Plays like that on top of his electric playmaking ability as a runner should have teams lining up to select Jackson and coach him up. But Jackson will get the chance to ease some of the aforementioned concerns when he participates in the NFL Combine next month — as a quarterback.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a succinct yet thorough breakdown of Jackson that doesn’t preposterously suggest he should switch positions, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has you covered:

Jackson has been the most dynamic playmaker in college football for the last two seasons, operating out of the shotgun in the Cardinals’ offense. He has a lean, narrow frame. He has quick feet in his setup and he bounces on his toes once he gets to the top of his drop. He throws with a very narrow base. He generates tremendous velocity despite flipping the ball and failing to generate any power or torque from his lower half. He’s more accurate/consistent on in-breaking routes and over-the-top touch throws. His accuracy suffers when he has to drive the ball outside the numbers. He is too stiff on his front leg and the ball sails on him. His pocket presence has improved over the last year and he excels avoiding unblocked rushers. He’s the most electric runner at the position to enter the NFL in the last decade. On designed QB runs, he’s very elusive and slithery. Overall, Jackson needs time to work out some mechanical issues, but his playmaking ability is special.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!