The NFL Draft is one of the highest risk/reward scenarios faced by NFL teams. Every year, the teams of the NFL are ranked from worst to best and given eight picks to improve their teams from the ranks of college football players. Selecting players from the college game is an inexact science, the players are experienced but not in the way a veteran NFL player is. The college game can be very different than professional football, so successful college players don’t always translate into successful NFL players. In this series, we will look at some of the most intriguing potential draft picks for 2018 and build a case for how these players will find their niche in the highly competitive NFL.

In this article, we will discuss Lamar Jackson, a quarterback, who is coming out of the University of Louisville. He has an impressive resume, highlighted by a Heisman Trophy that he won in 2016. A dynamic athlete, Jackson has been able to amass over 13,000 yards in his career, both through the air with his cannon of an arm and on the ground with his dazzling running ability. The big question is, can he succeed as an NFL quarterback? Many experts think he should look to convert to a wide receiver and kick returner to use his incredible running ability. This has not made Jackson happy.

At the recent NFL Combine, Jackson did not run the 40-yard dash, opting to wait for his pro-day at the end of March.

Speaking to NFL Network's NFL Now crew, Jackson admitted the recent talk of him playing wide receiver led to him not wanting to run.

"I didn't want to show it out here, they've been talking about receiver and stuff like that so I didn't feel I should do it," Jackson said.

"At first I was going to run, as a quarterback, but then they said wide receiver and I had to let them know I was just going to throw today."

Lamar Jackson, Heisman Trophy winner, NFL quarterback?

He likely would have been the fastest quarterback to run the 40, but we will have to wait till his pro day to find out how truly fast he is.

His size is smaller than most NFL QB’s but not the smallest at 6’2” and 218 lbs. While Jackson is lightning fast, some professional scouts have worried about his durability as a running quarterback in the NFL given his tall and slender physique. He has gained weight since starting out as a freshman at Louisville, but there is still worry about him taking hits from NFL defenses.

Another of the concerns with Lamar Jackson as a pro quarterback is his supposed lack of passing accuracy. His completion percentage at Louisville has improved every year, from 54 percent as a freshman in 2015, to 56 percent in 2016 and finishing this past season at 59 percent. While his accuracy has continued to improve, his completion percentage is still less than the mid-sixties where pro scouts like to see it.

While passing accuracy may be a potential concern, Jackson has incredible arm strength and has the ability to make every throw that is expected of an NFL quarterback.

Successful athletic NFL quarterbacks

Extremely athletic and running quarterbacks have a mixed history of success in the NFL. Some have been long-standing starters, quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Dak Prescott, and Russell Wilson. Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks, is the only quarterback from this group that has won a Super Bowl, which is the ultimate goal of every franchise. Other quarterbacks have seen NFL success with an athletic running ability over the years. QB’s like Steve Young, Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham, Steve McNair, and even Fran Tarkenton have dazzled fans with their ability to run and extend plays.

Athletic NFL quarterback busts

There have been plenty of busts with running quarterbacks as well. While these players were great athletes, they couldn’t throw the ball accurately enough to find lasting success in the NFL. Players like Robert Griffin III, Akili Smith, Terrelle Pryor, Kordell Stewart, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, and Colin Kaepernick didn’t last long at the quarterback position for their respective teams. Pryor has since converted to wide receiver and has been more successful at that position.

Lamar Jackson's NFL Draft hopes

Lamar Jackson has a chance to be a successful NFL quarterback. As a tremendous athlete, he will be able to extend plays and gain yards running the football. He has a very strong arm and can make every throw.

His true success as an NFL quarterback will be based on his ability to throw the ball accurately and remain durable through the pounding that running quarterbacks take. His completion percentage has improved every year, so he has the chance to make the gains he needs to throw against NFL defenses. His upside is enough that someone will take a chance on him. And, though he doesn’t want to hear it, he could be an amazing wide receiver and kick returner if the quarterback thing doesn’t work out. All the experts seem to think he is a late first round or second round pick, so we will see if they are right. Wherever he goes in the draft, it will be exciting for fans to watch an incredible athlete try to make his dreams of being an NFL Quarterback come true.