POSITION: Wide receiver.
MEASURABLES: 5-foot-10, 169 pounds, 4.35 in the 40 at the combine.
COLLEGE CAREER: Caught 65 passes for 762 yards and six touchdowns his senior year, despite nursing an injured thumb for most of the campaign. He was also a first-team all-Pac-10 wide receiver and punt returner in 2006.
PROJECTED AS: A wide receiver and punt returner who has the potential to make an immediate impact on the team that drafts him.
ARE THE BUCS INTERESTED: The Buccaneers reportedly met with Jackson on Monday at their team facility, a signal that the team is interested. Even an average football fan can see that the Buccaneers are in need of an infusion of youth at the wide receiver position, and Jackson has some of the best speed and hands in this draft.
DRAFT VALUE: Jackson has been a Top-5 wide receiver throughout the draft process. Most mock drafts have him being taken in the first round, though there's a rare mock draft that has him falling into the second round.
SCOUT.COM'S TOM MARINO'S ANALYSIS: Undersized "Z" receiver with rare speed, and is as natural a pass catcher as there is in this draft. An outstanding athlete with rare quickness and body control. Comes out of a break with a lot of juice. Works back to the ball with confidence and can snatch it away from his body. Lightning in a bottle after the catch. Dangerous punt-return man who can take it to the house. Will get lazy in his routes and lose his concentration. Acutely undersized. (Marino lists Jackson as a second- or third-round value.)
WHAT OTHER SERVICES ARE SAYING:
"Some experts compare him to Santana Moss, but he is much more explosive in his drive off the ball to the break point and brings much more value on special teams. Others liken him to Devin Hester, but he is not in that class yet as a returner and, because of size issues, he has never really taken to the kickoff-return role. Jackson is a better deep threat with better hands as a receiver than Hester. He is a few inches bigger than (Steve) Smith, but both have a combination of explosive burst, quick change-of-direction agility and cutting ability to threaten the deep secondary consistently." — NFLDraftscout.com.
"Jackson demanded much attention at Cal, immediately raising expectations by scoring on both the first punt return and first catch of his college career. Despite size limitations, he is a pretty tough receiver. There are concerns that he is a "me" guy and could become a locker room cancer, which could cause him to slip out of the first round. Jackson has the talent to become a dangerous NFL receiver and return man, a la the Panthers' Steve Smith and Redskins' Santana Moss." — Sportingnews.com's War Room.
MATTHEW POSTINS' BOTTOM LINE: Jackson's size will concern any team that drafts him, and I can't escape the nagging feeling that he could be this year's Ted Ginn Jr., the player with multiple skills who is taken too early for his talent. Teams are being seduced by the idea of finding the next Devin Hester, when the truth is there is no next Devin Hester. Jackson is a far better receiver than Hester, and a better technical receiver, it appears, than most of his counterparts in this draft. There there's that blazing speed, something the Bucs don't have outside of Joey Galloway and the primary reason the Bucs have been linked to Jackson from the start of the player evaluation process. It's rare to find a receiver with 4.35 speed who can also catch the ball consistently, which is why I don't think he'll slip out of the first round. Steve Smith, the player Jackson is most compared to, entered the NFL at an official college playing weight of 180 pounds (he's now 189 pounds). Smith, aside from his lost 2004 season when he broke his leg, has missed just five games in his career. I'm not saying that Jackson is as tough or will be as durable as Smith, but Jackson could easily add 11 pounds to his frame, keep his speed, and potentially make a similar impact. That's why the Bucs should consider him. They have a stable of tall, West Coast-type receivers. But they'll need a player like Jackson to stretch defenses when Joey Galloway is finally retired.
You can read more of Matthew Postins' coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at bucsblitz.com.