There are several different generations of NFL fans who know about Michael Vick. But it's hard to really explain just how different Vick was when he first came into the league and started to dramatically change quarterbacking while with the Atlanta Falcons.
Vick starred at Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer, but when he made the leap to the NFL, he was something entirely different. He transcended video games, transcended real football and was a literal experience.
There hasn't ever been another Vick, either, until maybe now. That's because Michael Vick himself has signed off on the idea of Louisville's Lamar Jackson living up to the billing as the "next Michael Vick."
"If I've ever seen another guy that looks like me, it's been Lamar Jackson," Vick said recently when talking to the Louisville Courier-Journal about Jackson as an NFL prospect.
The impetus for the entire article was the polarizing way NFL Draft analysts look at Jackson. He's obviously a supreme talent: he cruised to the Heisman Trophy last year despite struggling down the stretch. At times, he made Louisville's offense look unstoppable.
But smart guys like Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com and Matt Miller of Bleacher/Report disagreed with their perception of him: Jackson is ranked No. 6 on the Draft Scout big board overall, while he was only Miller's No. 6 quarterback.
When doing, I had five quarterbacks taken in the first round, and Jackson wasn't one of them. My primary concern is that he's going to come back in 2017 with a ton of expectations, not meet those expectations and be picked apart by NFL scouts and front offices who have concerns about his ability as a "pocket passer."
People are going to get livid about criticisms of Jackson, but he did complete 45 percent of his passes in the final three games of the season last year.
It's also hard to really compare Vick and Jackson from a statistical standpoint. Vick attempted 343 passes during two years at Virginia Tech -- Jackson attempted 409 last year alone at Louisville. Jackson's rushing statistics from last year are silly: 260 attempts for 1,571 yards. That's almost 300 more rushing yards than Vick had in both seasons.
So far, Jackson has lapped Vick from a statistical standpoint. Stylistically, though, they're similar. Both have slight builds and both are have cannons for arms and can throw the ball a mile but aren't always perfectly accurate on shorter passes. Both Vick and Jackson are electric runners, capable of turning on the jets and accelerating down the field and away from defenders. They can both cut on a dime and bring a defense to its knees in quick and lethal fashion.
There will be concerns about Jackson as a pro prospect, and 2017 will determine where he ends up going in the draft, but if one thing is for certain, it's that he has the Michael Vick stamp of approval.