Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson spells disaster for entire organization

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens selected Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ozzie Newsome’s final first-round pick could set up the franchise to be uncompetitive for years to come.

Joe Flacco finds himself in a similar situation to Alex Smith, one that the latter was in twice before. The first time, Colin Kaepernick was breathing down his neck in San Fransisco in 2012. Alex Smith got hurt, and Kaepernick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl to lose to Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.

The second time around for Smith was more similar to this season for Flacco than the previous one in San Fransisco. This is because Lamar Jackson was taken in the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft, the same way Patrick Mahomes was taken in the first round last year by the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith felt the heat and responded by trading in his conservative approach for a gunslinger mentality Brett Farve would be proud of.

Smith had the best season of his career, but then was traded to the Washington Redskins following the season. Time will tell what happens to the Chiefs after getting rid of their franchise quarterback of five years.

What about Flacco? How will he respond? We may be witnessing the best Flacco yet this offseason. Hopefully, this confidence and success will carry over into the regular season, and we will all be saying that Jackson is the best thing that ever happened to Flacco. But the bigger question is, would the Ravens take advantage of this chip on Flacco’s shoulder after the 2018 season?

In all likelihood, Flacco will be wearing a different uniform next year in the same way Smith did in both of his similar scenarios. Honestly, Flacco needs to prove to the Ravens organization that he is irreplaceable. The best way to do that is to win the Super Bowl this season. There is almost no way Baltimore would trade a two-time Super Bowl champion, but anything short of the big game victory probably leads us to the end of the Flacco era.

If Flacco is not a Raven next season, it will be a disaster for the organization. Even if Jackson finds a little success in his first or second year, he will likely follow in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps of sending a good football team into a premature rebuild. 

The Jackson to Kaepernick comparison shows that the former is a little faster, shorter and a lot less accurate. Jackson never eclipsed the 60 percent completion mark in any of his three seasons at Louisville. Kaepernick only did it once, in his senior season where he hit on a little over 65 percent of his throws.

In the NFL the margin of error is so small, and defensive coordinators are masterminds at finding opposing quarterbacks’ weaknesses. Just like Kaepernick, Jackson may be able to win a few games with his legs, but if he cannot consistently beat teams by standing in the pocket and throwing an accurate ball, he will not make it in this league.

Teams will rush two or three, and send everyone else back in coverage with a spy or two in case he wants to run. Jackson must prove he can throw the ball to beat defenses, and yet he couldn’t even complete 60 percent of his passes in college.

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Simultaneous to the opening of the door on the new Lamar Jackson led Baltimore Ravens, the window of opportunity for a third Super Bowl closes as Flacco leaves. If and when Jackson starts, the Ravens better begin looking for a franchise quarterback to replace him. Jackson becoming a starter spins the organization into a quarterback carousel that could last years…just ask the Browns.