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Prospect Profiles: Malik Jackson


TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 6-5, 260, 4.85


National Football Post:

A tall, athletically built defensive lineman who possesses a long wingspan and some real violence to his game when asked to use his hands to shed blocks. Coils up decently into his stance, but has a lot of leg and struggles to keep his base down and head up at times. Gets inconsistent with his pad level off the ball as a pass rusher because of it. When trying to shoot gaps at times does a nice job staying low and extending his arms into contact in order to create a jolt. However, for the most part his pad level comes up, head stays down and doesn’t use his long arms to protect himself. Can be jacked on contact and doesn’t create a push as a defensive tackle. Displays some natural athletic ability when asked to loop/stunt inside. However, hasn’t put it together with his pass rush arsenal yet. Is more of a linear guy only at this stage who lacks a counter/change of direction ability. Nevertheless, consistently gets his long arms up in pass lanes and knocks a lot of throws down.

Displays impressive athletic ability though and when he does get his hands up off the line he can consistently keep himself clean and works like a bear in pursuit. Showcases great range off his frame for the position and demonstrates a good motor to go along with it. Exhibits a natural anchor as well for his size when asked to play the piano down the line. Is coordinated/powerful initially on his punch, can control blocks and work his way in pursuit. However, gets overextended and upright causing him to struggle with balance when asked to breakdown and make a play on the ball. Also, sees time at DE and looks much more coordinated when asked to get into contact, extend his arms and use his violent hands to shed. Lacks the anchor to hold up consistently inside vs. the downhill run game at the next level, as he can be easily sealed on contact. Needs to penetrate and win with his first step in order to be effective vs. the inside run. Holds up very well on the outside though, setting the edge, playing off blocks and working toward the football.

Impression: A great looking athlete. Has some real work to do from a technique standpoint and is playing out of position at Tennessee. However, has a lot of upside as a DE both in a 43 and 34 front in the NFL and looks like a really intriguing developmental defensive lineman at this stage with a good bit up upside long term.

Josh Norris:

Jackson quietly offers the same versatility as top-five prospect Quinton Coples, having played extensively at end and tackle and excelled at both in the SEC. Jackson displays incredible strength off the snap with quick hands that throw even the most thickly built interior linemen off balance. Jackson’s arm length helps disrupt passing lanes, but he has yet to maximize his length potential into leverage against the run, especially in short-yardage situations. When rushing the passer, Jackson is persistent and very active with strong counter moves if his initial burst is halted. His “tweener” label may be frowned upon by some, but I think Jackson is a top-five defensive end in this draft and worthy of a second-round pick.

Sideline Scouting:

Positives — Playing out of position in college but projects to DE in the pros; natural athletic ability, quick out of his stance, has the speed to threaten the edge, can be a challenge for opposing linemen to block… Has some quick, violent hands and long arms to disengage and stay clean; good hand punch, can knock linemen back on their heels, makes a lot of plays fighting through blocks… Gets his hands up in passing lanes when he can’t get to the quarterback… Does a nice job setting the edge and maintaining containment, can also make plays off his frame, has good range and is relentless in pursuit, good closing speed; his motor has been questioned but he didn’t seem to take any plays off in 2011… Versatile, has lined up at defensive tackle as well as defensive end but primarily played DT in 2011, projects best as a 3-4 DE (5-technique) at the next level and could also get looks as 4-3 DE, can be used on stunts and twists… Does a good job in space and plays better at defensive end where he can operate off the edge, has all the tools to be successful if he plays to his potential in the NFL; got better each and every week throughout his senior season.

Negatives — Undersized defensive tackle, played out of position at Tennessee, isn’t real stout against the run as a DT, won’t be able to hold up inside at the professional level, doesn’t always have the power to disengage… His lack of weight hurts him, lacks strength, can’t create a push at defensive tackle, lacks the anchor to hold up inside, needs to bulk up 10-15 pounds to play 3-4 DE or he could drop a few pounds and a team could give him a look at 3-4 OLB… A straight-line type of athlete, has impressive overall athletic ability but isn’t real flexible and struggles to change direction, doesn’t have much of a pass rushing arsenal… Plays upright out of his stance and gets more upright as he tires, needs to do a better job staying low, doesn’t use his arms to protect himself when playing high, lots of work to be done with his technique… Wears a bulky knee brace on his left knee and there may be medical questions heading into the NFL combine… Opted to transfer to Tennessee following two years at Southern California after the Trojans were hit with a two-year postseason ban… All in all, Jackson is an impressive athlete with some upside but will be a developmental project and won’t contribute right away.

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GiantsGab Thoughts:

Malik Jackson is a developmental defensive line prospect. Played DT in college, not bulky enough for that in the NFL, although he can probably slide inside on passing downs. Long arms. Athletic. Kind of a project, but was productive. Needs technique work. Very strong. Gets a push. I think he can be used all over the line, a la Mathias Kiwanuka. He’s obviously not ready to contribute right away, but it’s not like the Giants need that. They can afford to bring him along slowly and let his technique catch up with his athleticism. The Giants will draft a pass rusher, and we still don’t know for sure if Osi is going to be back. 2nd to 3rd round. I think he’s an upside pick. You take him, put on special teams, let him develop and then let the talent develop and let him produce.




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