Going into his junior season last fall, Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat was playing as well as any defensive linemen in the nation. 71 tackles, 21 TFLs, eight sacks and three PBUs as a true sophomore playing on a team with as much talent as the Longhorns? Not too shabby. Through five games into his junior season, he was still on his torrid pace, racking up 31 tackles, 11 TFLs, four sacks, one PBU, two FFs and a FR. Then, in the midst of a horrendous 63-21 loss to rival Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, he ruptured his pectoral muscle, missing the rest of the season. Is he the same play he was prior to the injury? His senior year this fall is the time to show it.
- Genuinely a good person. Is involved with a lot of charities and spends a lot of time volunteering.
- Superb bloodlines. His father, Jim, played 15 years in the NFL, racking up more than a hundred sacks with the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.
- Has lived up to the hype. Came out of high school as the top player in Texas and number one defensive end nationally.
- Good size/speed combination. Good lateral quickness as well.
- Excellent athlete with good timing and anticipation.
- Has played in defenses with both his hand in the dirt and standing up. Could potentially play both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.
- Has good length and is good off the edge. Dips his shoulder well and runs the arc fairly well.
- Can drop back into coverage if necessary and make some plays in open space. Very strong in pursuit.
- Has a very good bull-rush with a good push/pull.
- Very strong cut-block awareness.
- Regularly keeps hands inside and gets good extension.
- Strong against the run. Is a good tackler who can set the edge and force the run inside. Is good at keeping gap integrity.
- Needs to develop a stronger counter-move inside, against both the pass and the run.
- Can get washed away from the play in the run game.
- Not terribly strong at the point of attack. Needs to get bigger and stronger to go against linemen in the NFL.
- Not as quick or explosive off the ball as you’d like to see from an edge rusher.
- Is a good edge rusher from a 3-point stance, but isn’t quite the same rusher as when he’s stood up.
- Pass-rushing moves need refinement. Needs to have more violent hands when engaged.
- The lack of violent hands when engaged sometimes leaves him struggling to shed blocks.
- Has a lengthy injury history. Ruptured pectoral in 2012, injured opposite pectoral in 2011 (which also required surgery), and also had an ankle injury in 2010 forcing him to miss four games of his true freshman season.
- Is he a three down lineman in the NFL? Does he have enough fluidity in his hips to drop into coverage in the NFL?
2013 Season Outlook
Jeffcoat really needs to prove he can stay healthy this fall, after being injured in each of the last three seasons. Providing he stays healthy, he should have another strong season playing with outstanding talent around him. I expect his stats to be very impressive, and for him to set a career high in sacks this season going against the wide-open passing offenses of the Big 12, earning All-American honors en route. Some good match ups to pay attention to will be against Daryl Williams (Oklahoma), Le’Raven Clark (Texas Tech) and Spencer Drango (Baylor).
In terms of pro prospects, Jeffcoat is a better athlete than football player right now. He’s not very technically sound, but the pieces are there. I honestly think he’s better suited playing end in a 4-3 as opposed to playing standing up in a 3-4, mainly because he’s such a better pass rusher with his hand in the dirt. If he was going to play linebacker, it’d have to be strongside. There’s no doubt he’ll have to continue to get bigger and stronger, because he’ll get overwhelmed at times against some of the elite NFL linemen. He’s playing right now around 245-pounds, but about 260 would be ideal.
2014 NFL Draft Projection: Right now, early second round, but could rise fast with a strong return from injury this fall.
Film Watched: vs. Oklahoma State (2011, 2012), vs. West Virginia (2012), vs. Oklahoma (2011, 2012), vs. UCLA (2011), vs. Texas Tech (2011).