One of the more interesting prospects to monitor ahead of the 2016 NFL draft is linebacker Myles Jack. His story is a fascinating one, as is his game. What does his scouting report have to say?
Weight: 232 lbs
A native of Arizona, Jack attended high school in Washington. The same one as Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro. He excelled in both football and track, winning a state championship in the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays in 2013. He bypassed Stanford and Florida State to sign with UCLA.
He had the rare distinction of being the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Years, and was twice voted All-Pac-12 second-team. A torn meniscus in his knee ended his 2015 season early and he chose to withdraw from school in order to focus on rehabilitation and preparing for the NFL draft.
- Athleticism and versatility jump out right away. He has good snap anticipation and burst as a pass rusher but can also drop into coverage with smooth fluidity.
Understand that Jack is a linebacker and he’s lined up against a wide receiver. Watch how he’s able to flip his hips and get himself from turn to run, using his hands to play physical and showcasing enough speed to not lose ground.
- No hesitation in his movement. He’s aggressive in attacking the line of scrimmage in run support and also on wide receiver screens.
Watch here. Now a lot of defenders in the NFL would run towards the receiver but then stop, waiting for them to make a move and then trying to stop them. Jack doesn’t give him that chance, flying to the football and making the tackle to minimize the yardage. Even if he hadn’t made the play himself, this move would have slowed down the receiver long enough for teammates to bring help.
- Times his blitzes really well, knifing into the backfield at just the right moment to have chances at stopping plays for losses.
- His size is a problem for certain linebacker positions. Lack of size and length will be question marks for some, as well as a lack of power.
- Injury that knocked him out of 2015 raises concerns about whether his smaller frame can handle linebacker in the NFL.
- Uses his hands well but still struggles to sift through traffic to make the tackle.
- May not be settled at a position. Played running back and linebacker in college but also played like a safety at times as well.
Pro Comparison: Lance Briggs
Myles Jack shares a lot in common with the former seven-time Pro Bowler for the Chicago Bears. They are of similar size and build. Both have played running back and each had versatile skill sets that made them playmakers on the field. Briggs was good as a tackler, blitzer and in coverage. So is Jack.
Projection: 1st to 2nd rounds
It’s hard seeing Jack fall out of the top 32 because there are so many things he does well. At least one team will be able to overlook his lack of ideal size. As for the injury, it’s nothing that should threaten his career long-term. Even a mediocre defensive coordinator should be able to find a way to use his talents.