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We Might Have a True Stud Safety No One is Talking About


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This article is from a newspaper in LaFourche Parish, Louisiana and was published last February. This is a great read.

 

Sounds like Jackson is a super steal and may have chosen the Giants because of his relationship with Randle.

 

Link ( http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20120211/OPINION01/120219901?p=1&tc=pg )

 

Different paths to NFL

 

Mike Detillier

NFL analyst

 

Published: Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.

Last Modified: Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.

 

 

During the 2009 recruiting season, the two biggest names in Louisiana were defensive back Janzen Jackson from Barbe High School in Lake Charles and wide receiver Rueben Randle from Bastrop High.

 

Late in the recruiting process, it looked as though both players would sign with LSU and coach Les Miles, but in the final days leading to national-signing day, Jackson changed his commitment to Tennessee. He signed in the first recruiting class for then-Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin.

 

The story of these two players took dramatic turns only to be reunited in the same workout facility some three years later.

 

For Jackson, the road to the NFL looked to be an easy one as he quickly made his mark at Tennessee playing under longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in 2009.

 

The highly touted defensive back stood out as a true freshman, starting nine games at free safety alongside All-American and All-SEC strong safety Eric Berry. Jackson had 37 tackles and one interception.

 

Berry, who ended up being the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft, told me in the days leading to his selection by the Kansas City Chiefs that Jackson was "the most talented cover man he had seen in the SEC."

In 2010, Jackson was a second team All-SEC performer recording 69 tackles, four tackles for losses, five interceptions, 11 pass knockdowns and a sack.

 

But incidents off the field — personal issues and suspensions — resulted in Jackson being away from the team in early 2010. Those incidents eventually led to his dismissal from the team in August 2011.

Reports say his dismissal was because of incidents involving drug use. Jackson left to play a pedestrian season in 2011 at McNeese State.

 

Jackson, who is now working at Sonic Boom Training Center under the watchful eye of workout guru Wyatt Harris, said he has learned from his mistakes after leaving high school.

 

"I made some mistakes, and I admit I made them," Jackson said. "I was young, I was away from home and I didn't make the right choices back then and I paid the price. It humbles you no matter how good you think you are. I know the NFL knows all about those issues and I have no reason to back away from them, but I also know that I learned from those errors in judgment. I am trying my best to keep my focus right and let my talent speak for itself. I just have to work hard and convince them I am a changed guy, and I can play at the next level."

 

Jackson's talent as a football player has never been questioned, and the 6-foot, 188-pound safety has been putting on a show for anyone who has seen him work out at Sonic Boom.

 

Last Wednesday, Jackson looked almost picture perfect with his ball reaction skills, his footwork and reverse skills in individual drills, but it was his three 40-yard times that really were eye-catching.

I clocked Janzen's 40-yard times at 4.36 seconds, 4.29 and 4.34.

 

Harris, a former NFL wide receiver, has high praise for Jackson. "I have trained some great athletes here at Sonic Boom. People like Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Tracy Porter, Jacoby Jones and Devery Henderson, and I have never had an athlete like him here," Harris said. "He is the best athlete that's ever trained at Sonic Boom. His athleticism is freakish and his speed, quickness and ease of movement are at the very top of the athletic ladder. He applies all that athletic ability to the football field. He is just not a great athlete, but he can play a high level of football also. He is going to knock the socks off of these other safeties he tests against at the combine."

 

Jackson said his mobility is his greatest strength. "I really think my versatility to play not only safety, but also cornerback will help me out," Jackson said. "Working under my dad in high school, Lance Guidry, the current defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky and learning techniques from Coach Monte Kiffin at Tennessee, I think that really helped mold my football skills to play the different coverage sets everyone has today. I have really good ball skills, and I study a lot of tape on people like Deion Sanders, Ed Reed and Eric Berry. I play the ball well in flight. I know I need to physically get stronger, but with my speed and range, I believe I can help out quickly. All I want is a chance."

 

I currently have Jackson as the third best free safety prospect in the 2012 draft and the 68th best overall player.

 

The road for Rueben Randle came at a slower pace, but the former wide receiver/quarterback looks as though he is on the verge of making a move midway into the draft's first round. It is a similar that former Alabama All-SEC wide receiver Julio Jones made last year.

 

The soft-spoken Randle said he is a bit nervous about the combine workouts, but he is fully ready for the challenge. "I am a little nervous, but I am focused on being the best I can be. I think I proved a lot last season in my development as a receiver," Randle said. "We were a run-oriented team, but when they threw the ball my way, I did my job to the best I could do, and I really learned a lot about proper route running and getting into and out of my cuts and breaks better and with more explosiveness working with (Harris) last summer."

 

In his first two seasons at LSU, Randle caught 44 passes for 717 yards and five touchdowns. Last season despite erratic quarterback play at times, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound end caught 53 passes for 917 yards, averaged 17.3 yards per catch and eight touchdowns.

 

Randle is tailor-made for the NFL due to his size, huge hands and explosive qualities after the reception, but some NFL scouts have questioned his top-end speed.

 

After watching him run at Sonic Boom in times of 4.44 and 4.46, Randle is ready to prove the doubters wrong in Indianapolis.

 

"I know that is what they are saying, but the film doesn't lie about you," Randle said. "There weren't a lot of guys catching me from behind, and I have a pretty good burst after the reception. I think sometimes if you aren't in an offensive system that throws the ball in your direction 70 to 80 times a season you get that label. I am confident I will prove that theory wrong about me."

 

Harris says Randle's quiet confidence and his physical stature will have the pros looking at him in the first round.

 

"Don't take that quiet demeanor to mean that Rueben Randle is not competitive. He is the ultimate competitor out there," Harris said. "He has superb body balance and control skills with the ball in flight, excellent eye-hand coordination, and he is a physical player fighting for the ball. I agree with everyone that Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon is the top wide receiver in this draft class, but after that, Randle will be in play for the second spot. If the question mark is his speed and 40-yard time, you better get a big eraser because he is going to make his mark when he runs and works out for the scouts."

 

Right now, I currently have Randle in a close race with Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, Baylor's Kendall Wright and Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu for the second wide receiver spot in the draft.

 

Just remember at this time last year Jones was regarded as a teens pick in the first round, and the Atlanta Falcons gave up five draft choices to move up to the sixth overall spot to select him.

 

Randle said his confidence as a receiver was helped by going up against some of the best defensive backs in the nation at LSU. "Every day in practice I was lined up against Patrick Peterson, Tryann Mathieu, Tharold Simon, Morris Claiborne, Ron Brooks and Brandon Taylor and that certainly made me a better player," Randle said. "Those guys were relentless and they didn't want you to catch anything against them, and it was ultra-competitive out there on that practice field. It made you work harder as a player just to survive the practices. If you didn't run your route exactly the way you should, you weren't going to catch the ball against them."

 

And now every day the competitive nature of Jackson and Randle is on display.

 

"These two guys are super competitive," Harris said. "If they had a spitting match between the two, they would be fighting to win that contest. They both lived with me for a while, and they were so competitive in everything I would wake up in the middle of the night to see if one hadn't smothered the other with a pillow because they were always going at it. Those two young men are not just upper-echelon athletes, but really good football players. They are focused to be amongst the very best at the next level."

 

Randle and Jackson took different paths to the NFL, but the moment to showcase their football skills and athleticism is right around the corner. Watch and see if both don't emerge as two of the biggest winners of the offseason.

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You know, nobody doubts this guy's athleticism. He was arrested but not formerly charged for an incident involving several teammates in an armed robbery attempt of a convenience store. I've seen video of him, he's always looking for the big hit. He regularly launches himself at the receiver, leaving his feet, leads with his head, and I don't think I've seen a tackle attempt yet from him where he's wrapping up. He could be something, but I'm extremely skeptical, based on his history. We'll see if he can keep his shit together. I will say this, in his video, he does play the game at NFL speed, he's just moving around out there at a different speed than the others on the field.

 

I'd like to be optimistic about him but he's got to come in and be a professional, a teammate, and I'm not going to get my hopes up because there is a reason he looks so fast out there and yet he wasn't drafted, and the reason is his character is a giant question mark.

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I like Jackson, he has potential, if he keeps his head right. I was hoping we drafted Antonio Allen in the 7th, or I was hoping we signed Matt Daniels, who the Rams signed has a UDFA. I think the Rams got a steal

 

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Let's not get too crazy about those times, either. At the combine he clocked at a 4.64, it was 13th overall among safeties. http://www.nfl.com/combine/top-performers#year=2012&workout=FORTY_YARD_DASH&position=S

 

He was 4th in the vertical at 36.5 inches, though, 4th also in broad jump at 10'5", 5th in the 3-cone at 6.90 secs, and 4th in the 20 yard shuttle with a 4.15. All around, an impressive performance.

 

If he keeps himself out of trouble, I would think he has an excellent chance to make the team.

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That was a pretty good tackle Jim... didn't lead with his head at all

 

When I say borderline penalty in today's NFL I'm referring to the fact that any hard hit on a receiver in the act of catching the ball can be a penalty based on the ridiculous judgement call rules the NFL has burdened defenses with today. Remember, nowadays you're supposed to hug the receiver to the ground and give a nice pat on the ass afterwards.

 

I thought it was a good tackle, as well, guys. I saw another highlight video of him with Tennessee where he was definitely launching himself in the air, though, on multiple occasions, and those would be easy calls in the NFL. I'll see if I can find it again.

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Here's another one, this one is the best video of him, I think, in terms of evaluation. He has some good and bad in here. You see some bad tackling from him at times, to my point earlier about not wrapping up, and other times he does it just fine.

 

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In the last video you see he's a liability in run support big time. He likes to just throw himself at the ball carrier often. Believe me, I'm not crapping all over him. He has some skills and he'll need some coaching up just like any rookie. Maybe he turns into something. But he's not a first round talent that slid out of the draft... he's a mid-round talent that slid out of the draft.

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When I see these highlights I see a hell of an athlete but with a ten cent head. I see lots of big hits, never once with good form... and maybe if he actually COVERED those people in the first place they wouldn't have made the catch?

 

Definitely has potential, but he plays with his head down... lots of work to do for him to do to play in the NFL. He's not the natural he plays like he thinks he is.

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Here's the good news. Unlike a high draft pick they call "High Risk / High Reward" where a star athlete with past problems can turn out to be an All Pro or a complete bust.....Janzen is "Zero Risk / High Reward". We have virtually nothing invested in this kid.....not even a 7th round compensation pick. It's all up to him what he wants to become.

 

Number 2: There's not a better team in the country to straighten out the kid's head New York Football Giants! Not only "No Bullshit" TC, but everyone of his teammates would be all over him and keep him clean.

 

Number 3: He has a reputation of being an over-zealous, smack-down tackler that is borderline "dirty". The coaches can correct that problem. As they say, "it's easier to tame a wild fire than to motivate the dead"

 

Number 4: There is virtually no doubt that the kid has ridiculous talent, but we don't know about his character. It is possible to have an epiphany in life and turn everything around. It happened to me at age 21 and my life made a 180 degree turn. Instead of skimming by with barely passing grades in high school and being permanently stoned, I started going to college, drug free, and carried a 4.0 average while taking 20 hours of classes in my first semester. It could happen with him as well. That story can be told hundreds of times over from other kids with worse backgrounds.

 

Regardless.....it's possible for him to have the epiphany that this is his last chance and really become a changed individual. My fingers are crossed. And if he does have the drive to want to be a big name in the NFL, our coaches will get it out of him.

 

And again: Zero Risk / High Reward

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