Mississippi

Now with Panthers, Mayfield set to face Jackson again

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Sometimes, as a motivational technique, a player can pay attention to remembering everyone in his position who was drafted before him.

It doesn’t seem quite so personal for Lamar Jackson.

“I was motivated when it took forever to get drafted. That’s all,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who was first, I just know my place, what it was.”

Jackson was drafted 32nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 draft. That was 31 places behind Baker Mayfield, who was then selected by Cleveland and will start this weekend as the Carolina Panthers quarterback against the Ravens.

In fact, two of Jackson’s four quarterbacks are currently with Carolina. Sam Darnold, third from the New York Jets, is also with the Panthers but has not played this season. By now it’s pretty obvious that the Ravens and Buffalo Bills ended up with the quarterback awards from that draft when they took Jackson and Josh Allen.

“I remember all the buses thundering down the hall like a herd. I could hear them: ‘Boom, boom, boom!’ — because we were on the other side of the building when we got Lamar,” said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh. “That’s why everyone was excited. I remember it.”

Jackson and Mayfield faced off a lot because they were in the same division until Mayfield was traded from the Browns to the Panthers before this season. He started the season as Carolina’s starter but was sidelined in Week 5 with an ankle injury. PJ Walker replaced him but he injured his own ankle and Mayfield will now start again.

“I’m not worried about it being ‘my job’ because I know what I’m capable of and this team can do it too,” Mayfield said. “I will go on stage full of confidence and ready to win.”

The Ravens (6-3) have won three straight and are coming off their open date. They lead the AFC North. Carolina (3-7) hasn’t fared nearly as well, but the Panthers are just two games away from first place in the NFC South after beating Atlanta last week.

No Christian McCaffrey, no problem for the Panthers.

Carolina has averaged 159.5 yards per game on the ground in the four games since McCaffrey joined the San Francisco 49ers. In the six games with him in the backfield, they averaged 90.3 yards per game.

Guard Austin Corbett said it was not a reflection on McCaffrey but rather an indication of the team’s total commitment to the game in progress.

“We found an identity,” Corbett said.

D’Onta Foreman has proven to be the ideal back for what interim coach Steve Wilks wants – a hard, physical back to wear down opponents.

Foreman has rushed for 389 yards and four touchdowns in his last four games.

Both teams had extra time to prepare for this game. The Ravens were off last week, and Carolina played a game Thursday night.

Baltimore is 11-3 in games immediately after an open date under Harbaugh.

Mayfield said he got to know Lamar Jackson and his family a little in college and was impressed — and, to be honest, a little scared.

“He’s a great guy and a good family. Still intimidated by his mother to be honest,” Mayfield said with a smile.

“His mom used to train him and she used to tell me stories so I could … come to Florida and train with him, and I politely declined after a few drinks at the Heisman ceremony,” Mayfield said. “But she’s intimidating. There’s a reason he’s so tough.”

Baltimore shared two games with Mayfield and the Browns last year. Mayfield threw for 247 yards and a touchdown in a 16-10 loss at Baltimore, and he passed for 190 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 24-22 win over the Ravens.

“I thought Baker was a brownie for life, so seeing those colors is going to be a little bit different,” said Baltimore defenseman Marlon Humphrey. “I thought the Lamar Baker thing was going to take a long time. So, him in baby blue and white, it’ll be different, but I’m sure he’ll still be the same feisty baker who… If he throws one at you, he’ll let you know, so I like that bakers.”

Wilks was the 2018 Arizona Cardinals coach and had the No. 10 draft pick. He was part of the group that chose Josh Rosen and passed on Jackson.

“I can’t even remember where we ranked him,” Wilks said. “If I did, I probably wouldn’t tell you.”

AP Sports Writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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