2018 NFL Draft: Lamar Jackson bulking up after Heisman season

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 26: Lamar Jackson /

Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting players in college football, and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner has upped his 2018 NFL Draft stock by adding weight.

Lamar Jackson’s game is built around his speed and playmaking ability, so it stands to reason he should be lighter than most other quarterbacks. However, there are durability questions whenever a NFL prospect is deemed too light, as the physical difference between the college game and the pros is vast.

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Former Louisville star Teddy Bridgewater received these same criticisms in college, and it looks like Jackson is doing his best to avoid being knocked in the same way as he eyes the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Louisville Courier-Journal‘s Steve Jones writes that Jackson has gained 10 pounds this offseason. He is now listed by the team at 206, so he must have played at 196 during the 2016 season. For somebody at 6-3, that’s a bit light, so taking the time to get stronger in the offseason is important. If he stayed at 196, he would have to gain the weight in an NFL strength and conditioning program anyway, so consider this a head start.

Head coach Bobby Petrino informed reporters that the goal is for Jackson to move up to 210 when fall camp starts, and he will drop back down to 205-208 in order to maintain his weight during the season. It’s a sound strategy from Louisville, because Jackson will continue to get hit hard by opponents.

Petrino notes that most of Jackson’s weight is in his lower-body, and that’s all for the best. That’s where real strength and explosiveness comes from in athletes, and even though Jackson has gained weight, he could even be more dangerous as a runner due to the additional lower-body strength and explosiveness.

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Jackson is heavily expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and fans across the country will be excited to see what this special talent is able to conjure up as an encore season to his electrifying 2016 campaign. He ran for a ridiculous 21 touchdowns last season, but this man is so good that I wouldn’t be surprised if found some way to top that number.