Scouts, Inc.: 33
Strengths: Possesses good overall size; adequate height, thickly built with longer arms (34.1) and bigger hands (9.1). Displays good initial quickness and mobility for his size. Shows some variety as a pass rusher, using a combination of quickness and power. At his best as a pass rusher when working one-on-one on the perimeter. Displays enough upper-and-lower body strength to seal off the perimeter when he’s playing with leverage. Does a good job at times of keeping separation from blockers and is learning how to disengage quicker than he would earlier in his career. Is tough and plays with a mean streak.
Weaknesses: Is more quick than fast. Lacks ideal top-end speed. He will never be the type of speed-end that can consistently run past offensive tackles. Lacks explosive closing burst as a pass rusher. Really struggles to split the double-team. He leaves his feet too frequently. Durability is only a minor concern but he has had ankle surgery twice during collegiate career; once in 2003 and most recently in spring of 2007.
Overall: Jackson was redshirted in 2003 and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle after the season. In his first three active seasons (2004-’06), he played in 39 games and recorded 121 total tackles (35 for losses), 20 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions. Jackson started all 13 games as a senior, delivering 60 tackles (17 for losses), 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. His right ankle required a second surgery before 2007 spring practice. His brother, Keith, played offensive tackle at Arizona. Jackson was one of the best young defensive ends in the nation during his first two seasons at USC (2004-’05) before his production tailed off as a junior in 2006. Part of the problem was that Jackson spent more time inside as the Trojans’ injected more 3-4 alignments on defense. The other problem was that Jackson didn’t handle all the double-team attention well. Regardless, Jackson bounced back as a senior in 2007, showing far more explosiveness when turned loose more frequently as an outside rusher. Jackson does not possess great top-end speed but his combination of initial quickness, size and power give him a chance to make an impact as an every-down starter in the NFL — likely as an end in a traditional 4-3 scheme. But if he doesn’t become a more consistent performer on the next level; Jackson will be a disappointment as a projected second-round pick.
Rick Gosselin: 42
A bit of a reach but a decent pick. There has been such an amazing run on lineman that the draft boards might have to be thrown out the window.
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