From Prospect To Pro: Comparing Jackson Jeffcoat To Von Miller
By Ken Scudero
The demand for pass rushers seems always to be high, and there will be quite a few in the 2014 Draft. NFL teams can never get enough of them, the hybrid blitzers with linebacker size and running back speed. When athletes like J.J. Watt, Jason Pierre-Paul and Julius Peppers come out of college, they are highly coveted and for good reason. They make big hits, they stuff the run, they get to the quarterback quicker than anyone and they can force turnovers.
Von Miller made an immediate impact in the NFL when he was drafted 2nd overall in 2011 by the Denver Broncos and then won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas senior, is one of the best pass rushers in this draft, and he’s floating under the radar in a strong class of defensive end/outside linebacker prospects.
Miller is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, and Jeffcoat is about that size, listed at 6-5, 250. Scouts will love this as it translates to a longer body, longer arms and more ground covered when rushing the QB and chasing down running backs. Ironically, Jeffcoat and Miller attended high school 35 miles apart from each other in Texas (Miller in Desoto and Jeffcoat in Plano.)
Jeffcoat’s strength lies in his ability to bull rush linemen as well as run right around them, as he is incredibly fast for his size. Miller plays the same game, a style of play which has allowed him to register 34 sacks in 36 career games in the NFL. Jeffcoat and Miller are both experts at disrupting plays behind the line of scrimmage as well as forcing turnovers, whether by forcing fumbles or by pressuring the quarterback into floating up an easy interception.
Jeffcoat has been dominant this season, collecting 62 TT, 10 sacks, 16 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 INT, 1 FF, and even a blocked kick. His career resume at Texas is nothing short of impressive, with 23.5 sacks and 45.5 TFL in 38 games. He’s just as fast, if not faster, than Miller when coming around the edge or up the middle. He can size up with most offensive linemen, and with his speed, it’s going to be difficult for a line to protect its quarterback.
Jeffcoat is a player who, like Miller, can have an instant impact in the NFL, and I even think he will be up there in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is that good, a rare combination of raw talent and plenty of experience. Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr will be drafted before Jeffcoat, but he isn’t far behind them. Look for him to go late 2nd-early 3rd round in 2014.