Scout's Notebook: S Jamarca Sanford

Find out the strengths and weaknesses of seventh-round pick Jamarca Sanford and how he might best contribute as a rookie with the Vikings in 2009.

#33, Jamarca Sanford, S (5097, 214, 4.39-4.59) Mississippi

Notes: Born Jamarca Deshaun Sanford, 8/27/85. Parents are James and Shirley Taylor. Cousin of Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry, a first-round pick by the Falcons. Another cousin, Dwayne Rudd, was a former first-round draft choice (in 1997) by the Vikings and spent seven seasons in the NFL. Two others, Eddie Strong and Kevin Thomas, were also linebackers who played at Mississippi.  Helped lead South Panola High School in Batesville, Miss., to a 15-0 record, 5A state championship and No. 9 USA Today national ranking as a senior. Voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2003 state title game. Led the Tigers to a 14-1 record and state runner-up finish in 2002. A Top 40, All-State and All-Region choice by The Clarion-Ledger. Picked up Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A first-team All-State honors as an outside linebacker. Named to PrepStar All-Region team, which represented the top 275 players. Ranked No. 7 among strong safeties on the 2003 Max Emfinger Super South Top 200 list. Rated No. 19 in Mississippi by Rivals.com. Listed as a Top 30 Prep Recruit by the Sun-Herald. Selected to play in the 2004 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile, Ala. Collected 320 career tackles and 25 QB sacks. Recorded 98 tackles, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions as a senior. A versatile leader for the 2003 Tiger defense, which allowed only 38 rushing yards per game. Was named Player of the Week eight times as a senior and seven times junior year. Earned four letters in football. Coached in high school by Ricky Woods.

College: Sanford was arrested in September 2003 after allegedly stealing a car stereo out of a parked car on campus. Committed to Ole Miss, but was also recruited by Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Marshall. Redshirted in 2004. Started all 10 games at strong safety in 2005 (missed one contest with a knee injury); recorded 58 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 3 pass breakups and 2 fumble recoveries. Underwent offseason hernia surgery but came back to start all 11 games in 2006, including the final four at strong-side linebacker; recorded 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 3 PBU. Started all 10 games at strong safety in 2007; posted 83 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 4 PBU, 2 forced fumbles and one blocked punt; also returned one punt for 28 yards and rushed once for 5 yards. Missed 2 games with a shoulder stinger. Arrested in January 2008 on charges of disorderly conduct and failure to comply, a misdemeanor charge. Reportedly wouldn’t leave a billiards club parking lot in Oxford, Miss. Started all 13 games at strong safety in 2008 with 82 tackles, 4 TFL, 0.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Started all 44 career games in which he played. Team captain. As a senior, was the SEC active leader in career tackles. Accepted an invitation to the 2009 Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge following his senior season. Majored in Criminal Justice. Made the U.M.A.A. Honor Roll in Spring of 2007. Received the 2008 Chucky Mullins Courage Award and wore a "38" patch on his jersey during his senior season to honor the late Chucky Mullins, whose Ole Miss career as a defensive back came to an end in 1989 when he was paralyzed in a game against Vanderbilt.

Pre-Draft: Invited to the Combine, Sanford measured 5097 Jamarca Sanford(5-9 7/8), 214 pounds; did 29 reps at 225 pounds and recorded 1.56 10-yard dash, 2.60 20-yard dash, 4.56 40-yard dash, 33 ½-inch vertical jump, 9’8” broad jump, 4.22 short shuttle time and a very strong Wonderlic score. Also measured 30 3/8-inch arm length and 8 ¾-inch hands. Sanford improved his times at the Ole Miss Pro Day, reportedly clocking as fast as 4.39, according some stopwatches, 4.43-4.46 on others. He also recorded a 4.20 short shuttle and a 7.22 three-cone drill time.

Pro: Seventh-round pick (No. 231 overall) by the Vikings in 2009. Off-field incidents were thoroughly investigated and not at all a concern for the team’s scouting department.

Positives: Extremely tough, well-built, physical and aggressive. Very active. Hard worker and competitor. Very strong for size (29 reps at 225). Hard hitter. Physical, aggressive, follow-through tackler. Very effective on run support. Hard hitter. Good straight-line speed. Should be effective on special teams and has the tools and makeup to be a real standout covering kicks. Despite off-field incidents, is considered a high-character person. Should learn quickly. Was team captain. Proven producer with good bloodlines.

Negatives: Shorter than you’d like and does not possess great catchup speed. Did not have an interception in four years as a starter. Has not shown much in the way of ball skills. A bit stiff in transition and is not a great man-to-man cover guy. Had a couple off-field issues.

Summary: Strong, physical, in-the-box strong safety who will need to excel on special teams to carve out a niche for himself.

What they said:

“Me and him [Brad Childress] talked about the off-the-field issues, and I told him he didn’t have to worry about that again. He asked if [they] drafted me, ‘Would I have to worry about that again?’ I told him, ‘No sir, you ain’t got to worry about that.’ That’s a mistake on my behalf and you don’t have to worry about that again. I really feel like that’s something every young kid goes through growing up. You’re going to make a few mistakes, but the biggest thing is you have to learn from your mistakes. That’s something that I did. I just really make better decisions.” –Sanford, responding to off-field issues

“Aggressive, fireplug, box safety with limitations in coverage. Could have to make it on special teams.” -Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

“Sanford will knock your socks off as a tackler-he's more of a downhill type, but when can you remember a DB leading the SEC in active tackles? Sanford is going to be a knockout punch on special teams & the sub package.” –Dave-Te Thomas, draft analyst, during recent VikingUpdate.com live chat

“Sanford was a very good college safety. A veteran of the SEC wards, he is super strong and possesses the necessary straight-line speed. However, he’s a little undersized for the position and tends to struggle some in coverage. Sanford is very smart and did a great job managing the Rebels deep patrol. Backup material in the NFL, but I’m not about to discount a proven performer from the SEC who enjoys mixing it up in the box and came through with a number of eye-catching performances during his college career.” -Mel Kiper, Jr.

Other Links:

College bio

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