Draft Spotlight: Lawrence Jackson

With the moves made in free agency, the Jaguars have made it almost painfully obvious what their target will be in the NFL Draft this coming April. Recently signed offensive guard Mo Williams makes defensive end really the only viable target for the Jaguars in this draft, at least early on. Luckily, the 2008 class is deep at defensive end so the Jaguars will not need to reach for their target.

There is a strong possibility of three or four specific players that could fall to the Jaguars at pick #26, assuming they indeed choose to stay there.

The first of these players that we will discuss is defensive end Lawrence Jackson from the University of Southern California. Jackson is a four year starter at USC with good size for a defensive end at 6'4", 270 pounds. He is a powerful defensive end with long arms, and plays much faster than his timed speed (4.76 40 yard dash). One of the biggest concerns with Jackson is his inconsistency and the fact that his motor is not always on. Jackson was talented enough to be a four year starter at arguably the most talent filled team in the nation at Southern Cal.

Jackson finished off a strong senior season with double-digit sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (17). However, he had a disappointing junior season finishing with only 4 sacks after coming off a 10 sack sophomore season, which points to the concerns of his inconsistency. Still, Jackson finished his career with 30.5 sacks playing in the Pac-10 against some of the nations premier offensive talent. Not only can Jackson get to the quarterback, but he is very strong at the point of attack and can play the run. He has very good use of his hands and great technique, but his range of pass rushing moves are limited. This however, is something that can be coached at the next level.

As it stands, Jackson is rated as the 6th best defensive end by Scout.com and looks to be available when the Jaguars make their selection this April. While Jackson may not be an immediate starter over ends Reggie Hayward and Paul Spicer, he offers an upgrade in the end rotation in the fact that he can put pressure on the quarterback and play the run. This offers versatility as it does not force the Jaguars to play Jackson only on obvious passing downs as they did with former Jaguar Bobby McCray and current designated pass rusher Brent Hawkins.

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