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Sorry to Those Who Missed Jackson: He Is For Real

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a first quarter touchdown  against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on November 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson was so good at Louisville. He looked like a video game polygon come to life, racing past defenders with his legs and victimizing secondaries with his gorgeous deep ball. The numbers and eye test both independently spoke for themselves. This guy was a transcendent talent, albeit in a slightly different package than normal.

So the Luddite subsection of the NFL does what it does best: it insisted a rogue and special nail must be hammered down to be equal with the others. They saw him as a problem to solve or a squire that needed to be guided in the self-important world of Playing the Position At The Highest Levels.

There was absurd notion that he shouldn't even play quarterback. Every team that needed one in the first round opted to go the more prototypical route. Even the Baltimore Ravens passed up a chance to take him with the 25 before he fell into their laps at 32.

Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen all went above him. And while time will tell if any of those prove to be as productive and brilliant in the long run, it's clear that right now Jackson is far and away the best of the lot.

We don't have to wait to see any more evidence from the dual-threat magician to know that he is very much capable of wearing the mantle of Serious NFL Quarterback. And everyone who suggested otherwise was predictably and hilariously wrong.

And I won't get personal in singling anyone out. Those now-freezing cold takes are easy to find if one is so inclined so you can put a name to the buffoonery. But I will say this: we should all be freed of the burden of hearing from these clownishly wrong take-havers in the future.

Look, predicting the future in sports is no easier than predicting it in real life. We don't need to rake everyone who peered into a cloudy crystal ball and saw an alternate reality over the coals. But the Jackson thing is a unique situation.

It was fueled by a lack of an imagination and a misguided belief that the NFL is the unicorn, not the player. No reasonable person who watched Jackson rack up highlight after highlight in college should have been under the belief he'd turn to a pile of ineffectiveness in the pros.

Yes, there were some struggles last year. There are always going to be struggles for a rookie quarterback. Yes, there's a real concern over his long-term health as players who run that much are susceptible to injury.

But what Jackson has done already is show that he's bound to go out and outplay the greatest quarterback to ever live on any given night. The gulf between he and Tom Brady was enormous and jarring. Again, small sample size, but it appeared indicative of a long-term trend.

Some may not be sold on Jackson, having gone through this with Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick or Insert Freewheeling, Long-Legged QB Here. That's way different than those who thought he'd never be capable of what he's already done.

It'd be great if those people could sit the next couple plays -- or series -- out.