Niners getting in on action for WR Jackson?

INDIANAPOLIS - It was at this time last year that Florida-based agent David Canter brought wide receiver Troy Williamson to work out at the NFL Combine. Now he has done the same with Florida's fast-rising WR Chad Jackson, with much the same results as Jackson zooms up draft boards, including San Francisco's.

In early 2005, the committee that puts a grade on where underclassmen should be selected in the draft gave Williamson a second-round grade. Even so, Canter encouraged Williamson to leave the University of South Carolina early. Williamson not only showed up at the Combine ready to go, he ran faster than anyone could have expected - a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash - and the rest is history.

Williamson wound up being selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the seventh pick overall in the first round.

Which brings us to Jackson.

What's interesting in his case was Jackson declared for the draft even before the committee sent him the letter which would give him the grade... of a fourth-round pick.

When Canter spoke to various teams in the league, he didn't exactly get a ringing endorsement of his client.

"They actually said, 'you mean the (Dallas) Baker kid,'" Canter said.

Still, that didn't deter Jackson or Canter and Jackson has continued to train for the Combine.

Whether it was Jackson's trainer who Canter said felt Jackson is "T.O. (Terrell Owens) with speed" or just a great belief that Jackson was a great talent, Canter felt Jackson was ready for the next level of competition. And much like with Williamson last year, the opportunity was there for the taking.

Other than Ohio St. wide receiver Santonio Holmes - who now is looking like the first WR that will come off the board in April - many around the league felt before the Combine that he was the only sure-fire first-round pick at the position.

That was then, this is now.

Jackson caused a major stir inside the media room at the Combine on Sunday when he ran an official time of 4.32 which is, coincidentally, the same time Williamson ran last year.

What's interesting is Jackson actually slipped a little on his best run of the two, according to Canter.

Canter confirmed that Jackson only dropped one ball in pass-catch drills and he anticipates Jackson won't run at his pro day next month. Canter is so confident that Jackson's 40 time was so good that he has moved in to the upper half of the first round.

"He won't be there when the Miami Dolphins pick (No.16 overall)."

If Canter's right, Jackson will be his second straight mover up draft boards at the wide receiver position.

If Canter's wrong - and Jackson still has a lot to prove to many NFL scouts who still see him as a raw prospect - Jackson easily could slide into the second round and possibly be available for San Francisco's pick near the top of the round, where the 49ers would have to give Jackson some serious consideration based on measurables alone.

At 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, Jackson has the quality size to go along with the outstanding speed the 49ers need at the position to stretch opposing defenses.

And, while Jackson didn't come into his own as a productive player until last year, he left little doubt he is ready for the big time during his impressive junior season at Florida. After catching a combined 32 passes in his first two seasons as a true freshman and sophomore, Jackson led the SEC with a school-record 88 receptions last year as a true junior, finishing sixth nationally in that department.

His game still lacks polish, but he is a skilled young receiver who possesses intangibles that can't be taught - as his 40 time displayed on Sunday.


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