An MVP and two Pro Bowl selections aside, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is still looking for more.
And being a Black quarterback in the NFL, Jackson thinks winning a championship would go a long way in proving his doubters wrong. Jackson appeared on the season premiere of LeBron James’ The Shop Friday, when the subject of the historical bias against Black quarterbacks was brought up.
James initiated the conversation, saying that “It’s dying off, but it’s still there.”
Jackson responded, “It’s still there. That’s why I need that championship.”
Fresh off winning a Heisman Trophy while at Louisville, Jackson was infamously asked by at least one team at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine to participate in wide receiver drills. He insisted he was “strictly a quarterback,” and was the fifth quarterback selected in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft (Ravens, 32nd overall).
Since his slide to the final pick of the first-round, the NFL has seemed to shift away from the stereotype. Kyler Murray was drafted first overall by the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft. Trey Lance, who is mixed, and Justin Fields were both selected in the first-round of last year’s NFL Draft.
Going back through recent history, 33 quarterbacks have been selected in the first-round of the NFL Draft since 2012. 12 have been Black or multiracial. Some of those selections have yielded some of the best young talent in the game today, including:
- Patrick Mahomes- Chiefs
- Deshaun Watson- Texans
- Lamar Jackson- Ravens
- Kyler Murray- Cardinals
- Trey Lance- 49ers
- Justin Fields- Bears
As the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, Liberty’s Malik Willis is expected to be the 13th Black or multiracial quarterback selected in the first-round over that span. Searching beyond the first-round and you’ll find another crop of names that have gone on to be quality starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
- Russell Wilson- Seahawks
- Dak Prescott- Cowboys
- Jalen Hurts- Eagles
NFL Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy has seen the league progress over his time and told NFL.com last February that he believes skin color is no longer a factor in evaluating a quarterback.
“I do think we have reached that point,” Dungy said. “As I’m sitting there broadcasting and we’re talking about Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, it’s not even, ‘Oh, my God. Look at what these guys are doing.’ It’s, ‘This is the new quarterback position.’ So I think we have gotten beyond that.”
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