Ravens players in 'awe' of Lamar Jackson, compare him to 'a young Michael Vick'

Lamar Jackson isn't supposed to steal Joe Flacco's starting job this season, but he already has his Ravens teammates in "awe" of his talent and already earned a "young Michael Vick" comparison.

Entering the draft, Jackson was considered a developmental type of quarterback who needed a year or two on the sidelines to digest the professional game. On draft night, he nearly fell out of the first round entirely before the Ravens traded up to take him with the No. 32 overall pick. It's not even training camp yet but ... the reviews have been sensational for Jackson this offseason. This shouldn't come as a surprise, but the quarterback who won a Heisman Trophy, threw 69 touchdowns and scored 50 touchdowns with his legs at Louisville is wowing the Ravens' defense that is accustomed to facing the statue Flacco at practice.

According to receiver Chris Moore, he's in "awe" of Jackson. 

"Every time he runs I'm in awe because most people -- especially a quarterback -- can't move the way he does," Moore said, per ESPN. "So you just know that this year he's going to make some plays, for sure."

According to linebacker C.J. Mosley, Jackson looks like a young Michael Vick.

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," Mosley said. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

With that in mind, it sounds like the Ravens are determined to find a way to use Jackson, even with Flacco still entrenched atop the depth chart. So far this offseason, the Ravens have been putting Jackson and Flacco on the field together. It's not just a fun exercise to keep Jackson involved during the summer. Ravens coach John Harbaugh expects Jackson to be active on game days during the season so they can use him in various ways. In other words, they're not just going to let him hang out on the bench for 16 weeks.

So far, the packages have been effective during practice.

"It's very creative," Mosley said. "We don't really know it's going to work until we put it out there. It's been giving us some problems on some of the plays. It's cool just to see the way we can switch things up with quarterbacks. As long as we don't have Joe [Flacco] doing too much running, that's really all that matters."

If there's one player who has the potential to spice up one of the game's dullest offenses, which finished the 2017 season ranked 21st in DVOA, it's Jackson. He might not be ready to become the Ravens' every-down quarterback who drops back to pass and sits in the pocket 30 times per game, but he should be able to contribute with his athleticism while he continues to learn the nuances of the position. 

It should also help ease him into the NFL. Sooner rather than later, the Ravens will want to make the move from Flacco, who has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league since his miraculous Super Bowl run in 2012, to Jackson. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who lives in Baltimore, that transition is expected to happen by next season.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories