2006 Draft Preview: LB D'Qwell Jackson

Seahawks.NET's Scott Eklund continues his series on the outside linebackers available in this year's NFL Draft. In the spotlight today is a player likely making a switch from inside linebacker to the outside -- Maryland LB D'Qwell Jackson.

5. D'Qwell Jackson, LB Maryland 6-1, 230 (4.7)

NFL Comparison: Al Wilson, Denver Broncos

Overview –

Played middle linebacker for the Terrapins, but is projecting to an outside position because of his size, speed and instincts. Hits like a ton of bricks, has excellent leadership qualities and runs well. Confidence is not a problem for Jackson. He improved every season in college and finished his career as a second-team All-American in 2005.

Against the run –

Probably Jackson's biggest strength. He is very physical at the point of attack, but he has trouble at times shedding blockers. With increased lower body strength that shouldn't be a problem. Takes good angles and diagnoses plays well, but at times can play too upright when filling gaps. Doesn't take false steps or get lost in traffic. Flows to the ball well.

Against the pass –

Goes through his progressions very quickly, able to read keys and diagnose routes by backs and tight ends. Does not have a smooth hip-turn, so man-to-man coverage is not going to be a strength. Gets into his drops quickly and punishes receivers when they come into his area. As a blitzer he has good closing speed, but doesn't show great pass-rush instincts.

Roster impact on Seattle –

Because he's undersized the switch outside will probably be a necessity. He would be a valuable backup to all three linebacker positions, but his ideal spot would be on the weakside where he could flow and make plays. Jackson would also be a terrific special teams playmaker with his tenacity and athletic ability.

Final Analysis –

Currently earning second-round grades and had a solid performance at the combine. Jackson will get some looks from teams that run the "Tampa 2" defense where players' athleticism is emphasized over their size. He has moved up the charts of several teams including the Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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