Cam Newton: Lamar Jackson is an 'exceptional talent'

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton went through the motions for roughly eight straight minutes of answering questions on the Baltimore Ravens defense during a Wednesday press conference.

The subject eventually changed to Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, who drew comparisons to the Panthers’ signal-caller leading up to the draft, and Newton’s eyes lit up.

"He’s got a little bit more life in his legs than I do, a little bit more wiggle," Newton said, via the Panthers’ official website. "I’ll be trying to take some notes out of his book, just anybody. Not just him, a lot of other quarterbacks in this league.

"Very, very, very exceptional talent Lamar is. I’ve been watching him for a long time."

Newton said Jackson first caught his eye when Louisville played Auburn in 2015. Then a freshman, Jackson completed 9 of 20 passes for 100 yards with an interception and added 106 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 31-24 Auburn win.

Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, entered the league this year as a first-round pick (32nd overall) with the Ravens.

"I was excited when he got picked when he did," said Newton, also a Heisman Trophy recipient.

Jackson’s playing time this season has been limited to just 59 offensive snaps behind established starter Joe Flacco, who has 519 snaps. But the Ravens have incorporated the rookie’s dual-threat skill set into the offense with certain packages depending on down and distance.

While Jackson has completed 2 of 6 passes for 29 yards through seven games, he has put his legs to good use, totaling 106 yards on 20 carries, including his first career rushing touchdown in Week 7.

Barring an injury to Flacco, Jackson will need to have patience as he continues to develop as an NFL quarterback. And Newton, arguably the league’s top dual-threat quarterback, believes the rest will fall into place.

"As he keeps growing in this league, I know his confidence will rise," Newton said. "And hopefully one day, he’ll have the reins to be a starter."

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