On the night of April 26th, 2018, The Baltimore Ravens drafted Hayden Hurst with the 25th pick of the first round in the NFL. Many Ravens fans were in a collective awe as to why the team would draft a TE so high in the draft? It seemed like the Ravens haul was going to be lackluster and without substance. Then something happened, the Ravens, mysteriously, traded back into the first round to take the 32nd pick and got Lamar Jackson. It was such a momentous pick that Deion Sanders wanted to thank Ozzie Newsome for drafting that young man because he knew there was something special about the Ravens new quarterback.
Fast forward several months and we arrive in week 12 and Joe Flacco has a badly injured hip that has sidelined him for the pivotal Bengals game that would cost coaches their jobs if they did not win. This was not an ideal situation for Lamar but he, like so many other rookies, had been waiting for this moment. The social media fan groups were not giving Lamar a chance, it almost seemed like they didn’t want him. They said he was inaccurate, didn’t like his throwing style, runs too much, can’t make the right reads; all points you could make about Flacco. However, Lamar did not disappoint; he got his first NFL victory and a starting quarterback but his presence in Baltimore is bigger than just playing football.
For the first time, in the franchise’s history, the Ravens drafted a black QB in the first round. For all of those who don’t know, black starting QB’s were like finding a unicorn, many owners didn’t want a black man being the captain of their football team. Many times, if a black QB was drafted, he was converted to Wide Receiver or Cornerback. Black QB’s were thought to not be intelligent enough to run an offense. Lamar had to constantly correct media pundits for drooling over his speed but telling them that he is a Quarterback, not a Receiver, not a Cornerback but a Quarterback.
I don’t think many understand the gravity of what Lamar said to the media; He said I am a leader, I am intelligent, I can be the face of this team and I’ll prove it to you. For a city that is struggling with record crime, corrupt police and a sense that Annapolis has forgotten the black youth of the city, Lamar is exactly what they need. Young black boys can see Lamar lead that Ravens team up and down the field, see his face on billboards all over the city, on tv when they show the stars of the team; something we haven’t seen since Ray Lewis. The exodus of fans due to the protest exposed a great divide between Baltimore City/County and Harford, Anne Arundel, Howard and Carroll counties. Maryland needs a black QB now more than ever, whether Maryland is ready for him or not.
About The Author
Born and raised in Baltimore, graduate of Woodlawn High school and graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Avid Orioles and Ravens fan since day 1 and just all around sports junkie. I’ve been writing articles for 2 years now and I also host my podcast “Live from the hammock” on Facebook and Youtube during the NFL season. Follow me for all things Ravens and Orioles and my articles on Instagram (agent_beige) and Twitter (@miwelsthegreat).