ESPN’s Bill Polian Admits He Was Wrong About Lamar Jackson

Polian previously said that Jackson should be a wide receiver in the NFL

ESPN's Bill Polian Admits He Was Wrong About Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens warms up. (Scott Taetsch/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / November 6, 2019 9:35 am

Bill Polian, a six-time National Football League Executive of the Year, got a lot of personnel decisions right during his Hall-of-Fame career.

Polian, who joined ESPN in March 2012 and focuses on the NFL Draft and free agency, also got some calls wrong.

That hasn’t changed during his career as a broadcaster — but at least he can admit it.

During the NFL Draft last April, Polian maintained on ESPN that Lamar Jackson, who won a Heisman Trophy at Louisville and has gone 12-3 as a starter in the pros, would not be a successful quarterback on the professional level. He even went so far as to say that Jackson should play receiver for the Baltimore Ravens.

To his credit, Polian has recognized the error of his ways.

“I was wrong, because I used the old, traditional quarterback standard with him, which is clearly why John Harbaugh and  Ozzie Newsome were more prescient than I was,” Polian told USA Today. “[Ravens offensive coordinator] Greg Roman found a way in how he’s developed a system to use those dynamic skills. Bottom line, I was wrong.”

Polian’s ESPN role focuses on the NFL Draft, free agency and the multitude of other business-related aspects of pro football, including player transactions, trades, salary cap issues and league rules.

While Polian is walking back what he said about Jackson, other sports media pundits are continuing to take shots at the MVP candidate.

On FS1, former Jets head coach Eric Mangini questioned whether Jackson would be able to sustain this type of play for a full season during a segment on Speak For Yourself.

“I think if this is how you want to play football and you want to take your quarterback and turn him into a running back who also happens to pass every now and then, then that’s great,” he said. “You can’t sustain it. There’s a lot of good, young running quarterbacks. There aren’t very many good, old ones. When you consistently expose a player like that to hit after hit, it’s the law of averages in the NFL and it’s going to catch up to you.”

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