Heisman Trophy winner thinking as a QB only
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — As promised, former Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson spent Saturday at the NFL scouting combine slinging it and not winging it.
Jackson didn’t show off a big arm like Wyoming’s Josh Allen, the other prime prospect in his throwing group Saturday.
But nobody else did, either: Allen wowed the coaches with a 66-yard pinpoint pass at one point during the first of two sessions with the quarterbacks and wide receivers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Jackson, though, was much more explosive than Allen was in his drops, consistently getting 7 yards deep on five-step drills whereas Allen made up for his poorer footwork with his superior arm strength.
Widely considered the best running quarterback since Michael Vick but a thrower who still needs polish, Jackson shook off some apparent jitters to show off a good enough passing prowess to justify his reticence to switch to wide receiver.
Jackson never caught a single pass at Louisville, where he threw for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns, ran for 4,132 yards and 50 TDs in 38 games. On Friday, he dismissed widespread speculation about him running routes with the receivers here.
“No sir. I’m a quarterback,” he said.
The buzz began building when former Colts executive Bill Polian told ESPN he thought Jackson should switch to receiver because he’s not as accurate, tall or strong as the other hopefuls in this year’s deep class of college quarterbacks. Polian suggested Jackson should make the switch sooner than did Terrelle Pryor, the ex-Ohio State QB who switched to wide receiver at age 26.
Such a notion was met by skepticism from several teams this week, and Jackson said he won’t switch positions even if asked.
“No sir,” he said, “I’m a quarterback.”
And he said he’s not interested in just running wildcat plays, where he’d take the direct snap and zip around the tackle, either.
“No wildcat,” Jackson said. “This is not the Dolphins with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. No sir.”
While USC’s Sam Darnold chose not to throw at the combine because he’d rather show off his arm with his own receivers at USC’s upcoming pro day, Jackson decided not to run the 40-yard dash.
“Film speaks for itself as far as showing off my speed and showing I can make people miss,” Jackson said. “I’ve just got to show off my arm — because that’s where they’re doubting me.”
He assuaged some of those concerns Saturday.
Hurst has heart condition
INDIANAPOLIS — Utah defensive lineman Lowell Lotulelei says Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr. told him Saturday that he had been diagnosed with the same heart condition as Lotulelei’s older brother, Star.
The comments came shortly after ESPN.com first reported Hurst will not be allowed to participate in drills.
League spokesman Michael Signora confirmed that players can be held out based on certain diagnoses but that he believed Hurst was still in town.
Hurst had been rising steadily on mock draft boards.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle had 59 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks last season. He also had 13 tackles for loss and has been considered one component of a deep class of defensive tackles in this year’s draft.
Hurst’s father played seven seasons with the New England Patriots as a cornerback.
Saints sign Coleman
NEW ORLEANS — Two people familiar with the situation say the New Orleans Saints and free-agent safety Kurt Coleman have agreed to terms of a three-year contract.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the roster move has not been announced.
The 29-year-old Coleman is an eight-year veteran out of Ohio State who played the past three seasons for Carolina.
He started in all 12 games in which he played last season and made 76 solo or assisted tackles. He also recovered a fumble.
Coleman joins a roster that includes safeties Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams, and his addition raises the prospects that fellow safety Kenny Vaccaro, who is set to become a free agent this offseason, won’t return to New Orleans, where he began his career in 2013.
Fins get Quinn
MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins can’t wait to improve their pass rush.
Miami acquired Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Robert Quinn for a mid-round draft pick, a person familiar with the deal said late Friday night. The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because under NFL rules, no 2018 trades can be completed until March 14.
Quinn has 62¢ career sacks, including 8¢ last year, when he started 14 games. He spent his first six NFL seasons with the Rams at end but played outside linebacker last season.
Quinn is expected to bolster a Dolphins pass rush that was disappointing in 2017. They had 30 sacks, tied for sixth fewest, and ranked fifth worst in opposing passer rating, which helped explain their 6-10 record.
Miami’s other defensive ends include 36-year-old Cameron Wake, Andre Branch and 201 first-round draft pick Charles Harris.