Ball hawk getting looks at three positions

Most teams have him as an outside ‘backer while other teams feel he would do well as an inside linebacker, and there are even one or two squads who say he is a safety – if he loses 15 pounds. The consensus is he is a playmaker.

Linebacker Jordan Beck wasn't on the swim team at Cal-Poly. But feel free to ask him about it – or not. He will laugh and tell a story about how his dad is pimping his name and it is actually a girl who broke the school's butterfly record. He surprisingly knows a lot about Jordan Beck.

This Beck isn't famous for his swirling electric guitar sounds, but is on par with fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson in his ability to swipe the football from his opponents' arms.

Last year, Beck forced six fumbles and still calls it luck.

"Some of them were just lucky—I just happened to hit them in the right spot," he said modestly. "One of our goals as a defense was to get balls out, and our coaches really emphasized that in practice. He taught us a couple of techniques, how to do it in different positions, coming from different angles, and things like that. That's one thing that's really looked highly upon because turnovers are so important, so our coach really coached that to death, and told us that whenever we had the opportunity, we needed to go for the ball. It's not enough to just make the tackle; it's your responsibility to go and get the ball as well. I missed some opportunities to go for the ball, but with repetitions in practice, he helped me."

The concern, as always, is when there is so much attention paid to stripping the ball that the runner gets free and busts out a long gain.

The linebacker admits that situations like that have arisen but he has heard the warnings before.

"We were taught that if you're the first guy in, you have to secure the tackle unless you have a really good shot at the ball," said Beck. "As the second guy in sometimes, I'd go for the ball and miss the tackle and somebody else would have to make it."

As a senior, Beck earned the Buck Buchanan Award, an honor annually bestowed upon the top defensive player in Division I-AA.

Beck showed versatility in all areas, amassing 135 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, four interceptions, nine pass breakups and six forced fumbles.

The question became what are his weaknesses with such eye-popping stats in every major category?

"In terms of a weakness, I think there's always room for improvement," Beck reflected. "I don't like to think of it as a weakness, just as something I can get better at. All aspects of the game, I can get better at, fundamentals, you can always get better at the fundamentals because they can help you in your entire game.

"One thing this year about my performance I was a little disappointed about was the tackling fundamentals. I felt like I missed a couple of tackles just because I would over-run it and get too antsy because I wasn't patient enough, and I would run and miss the tackle. That's something I need to work on in the future. There's always room for improvement—I don't want to rest on my laurels."

Rest isn't something Beck is familiar with. Beyond his regular defensive duties, he also played on special teams and has been a staple in that area over the past four seasons.

Viewed as an outside linebacker who could move around, he has received interest from the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots.

And that interest has increased ever since he pounded out 25 reps on the bench press at the Combines, had a 41-inch vertical jump, ran a 4.59 forty and a 4.10 20-yard shuttle. All at 6-foot-2, 233 pounds.

Playing in a flex defense, not really a 4-3 or 3-4, means Beck will have to pick up the new terminology and defenses. Given his track record for success, it shouldn't be too long before he is contributing in the defensive rotation.


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