NFL Draft Q&A: LB Malik Jackson

In 2006, Louisville LB Malik Jackson was a wrecking machine, registering nine sacks and 16 tackles for a loss. And while his senior season didn't match up statistically, there were good reasons for it. He talked with's Ed Thompson about his career, his coverage skills and speed, and more.

Ed Thompson:  Looking back on your collegiate career with Louisville, what are you most proud of?

Malik JacksonI'd have to say my junior season and going to the Orange Bowl and having that good of a team. It was my first year starting.  Everything was new for me, so every part of that was exciting.

Thompson:  You were second in the Big East sacks with nine, and in tackles for a loss with 16. But during your senior year, your results dropped off by comparison. Talk about what was different about your junior and senior year...

Jackson:  There were a lot of things going on as far as the team and my own personal issues at home that were effecting me on the field at the time.  My dad has cancer and finding that out right in the beginning of the season, a couple games I wasn't as focused as I thought I was going out there. Really it was for just two games, and then they sat me out for a game. And then I ended up switching positions to defensive end, which was never really my natural position. But we didn't have a lot of people on defense.  You had to fit in where you were needed, and I think that kind of hurt my production in a way. But you have to do what the team needs.

Thompson:  Which of your skills do you think will be most attractive to NFL teams?

Jackson:  I think my speed and my mobility would definitely be my main attributes.  My weight is about 230, not too heavy and not too light.

Thompson:  What is it about you that helped you get to the quarterback so often your junior season? And do you still feel you have that talent and can apply it at the NFL level?

Malik Jackson runs after recovering a fumble in the 2007 Fed Ex Orange Bowl.
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Jackson:  My speed and my agility is what gets me back there.  That year we also had a lot of other threats, so they had a lot of people to look out for, and I was able to exploit that and use my speed and agility to get back there.  This year, we had a lot of problems on defense.  We were trying to find what we were good at, and by the time we finally got there it was a little bit too late.  One of the main things was we didn't blitz as much, come the end of the season.  My junior year, we were always blitzing. So there were a lot of factors that came into it.

Thompson:  What would you want NFL clubs to know about you as a person?

Jackson:  As a person, I'm pretty much a homebody.  I like to watch movies and hang out. I don't go out too much.  I'm a laid-back type of guy, not a hothead, just pretty much laid back.

Thompson:  What's the most fun part of playing football?

Jackson:  I think just being out there with your teammates, the people you go out with all year.  You don't get to share that experience with too many people, so just going out there, running and hitting people, and having fun really. When the whole thing is fun, everything is good.

Thompson:  If you had to pick your strength as a pass defender, tackler, or pass rusher, what's your biggest strength that you can add to an NFL club?

Jackson:  I came in as a safety, so I feel more comfortable dropping into pass coverage and defending the inside receivers. 

Thompson: Anything you'd like to say to the Louisville fans?

Jackson:  Hang in there. I hope we have a good year next year. I appreciate all the support through the years I've been there, and the support they have for me as I go to the next level.

Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and are syndicated through You can contact him by email through this link.

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