How have we not talked about the similarities between Jackson Jeffcoat and Michael Sam?! It’s impossible after almost a week right? I cannot overstate how huge this mistake is for the rest of the league, but I’m going to try.
I mean Missouri Tigers standout Sam nearly went undrafted into the NFL night sky, but at least he finally got picked at 249 to the St. Louis Rams (out of 256 possible). Meanwhile Texas Longhorns everywhere have to be miffed at why Jeffcoat simply didn’t get his name called at all last weekend!
Let’s put this into real perspective here. Has this EVER happened? We’re talking about the SEC and Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award winners! We’re talking about Co-Consensus All-America’s in two of the premier defensive conferences in the nation! In other words these are two of the best players from 2013 in all of college football! And we’re also talking about them at the position which has clearly become the most revered position in the entire NFL!
For both the Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, this position has become a staple, a goal for which other teams have suddenly become inspired to reach, yet due to the idiotic mistakes and misses of the 29 other franchises in the NFL Draft, most have yet to achieve or even come close to achieving. It will be awhile folks, except in Houston, where the Texans have put together a J.J. Watt/Jadeveon Clowney masterpiece on the D-line, thanks to the worst record in football. If I remember correctly both the Rams and Seahawks took the Texans to task last season, but then I guess so did everybody. The Texans learned, but not the rest of the league apparently.
Speaking of Clowney, the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft less than a week ago, in 2012 he won the Ted Hendricks Award which signifies the best defensive end in college football. Who won that same award in 2013?
Let’s look at the stat difference from those two in the year’s they won the award (by far Clowney’s best stat-year was in 2012, not last season). Oh and let’s throw in the Michael Sam stat-line for good measure, just to clarify who had the best year of all and just how much difference there was:
- Clowney (2012): 54 Total Tackles, 40 Solo, 14 Ast (Assisted Tckl), 23.5 TFL (Tackle for Loss), 13.0 Sacks, 0 INT, 4 PD (Pass Defensed), 2 FF (Forced Fumbles)
- Jeffcoat (2013): 82 Total Tackles, 40 Solo, 42 Ast, 19 TFL, 13.0 Sacks, 1 INT, 2 PD, 2 FF
- Sam (2013): 48 Total Tackles, 31 Solo, 17 Ast, 19 TFL, 11.5 Sacks, 0 INT, 2 PD, 2 FF
Did the NFL just forget about him? Was he lifted off of the board of available players? This kid was on the ball more than Yogi on a stack of picnic baskets! Based on the stats above he literally produced the best season (by far) of any defensive player of the year since Chris Long of Virginia did it in 2007. By the way where’s HE playing now? Rhetorical folks. But seriously, 82 tackles at defensive end is just a monster number. It’s not like teams challenged him, in fact most of the time they tried to avoid him, but he came through anyway.
I don’t get it, if Clowney was the best guy on the board, Jeffcoat as a late 2nd to early 3rd round priority for teams is pure disappointment at best. For him to go undrafted is extreme sacrilege of the highest order. And YES, the Seahawks are partially to blame for that! Don’t get me wrong, the fact that they ended up with him doesn’t change the fact that they passed on him for seven rounds, especially in favor of guys like Jimmy Staten, Kiero Small and Garrett Scott. I love them, but Jeffcoat should have gone before all of them and Seattle could have done this much earlier.
But the pickup after the fact does make it a bit easier to swallow. Also, somehow the Seahawks will convince him they are the only team that truly wanted him, even though the fight for him was strong in the end.
On Friday Pete Carroll beamed about the job that his staff did in bringing this new kid to Seattle:
Absolutely, yeah it (the fight for Jeffcoat) was very heated for about an hour, hour and a half as the draft was winding down. We were all over it, Ken Norton did a great job. Went back to his old days, recruiting, and he did a great job.
Carroll also put Jeffcoat in a group that he didn’t really put any other UDFA’s into on their first day, and all without seeing much of him on the field even.
I need to evaluate the tape to see what he did today but in the workouts he’s looked really good. He’s a really good athlete, he fits in athletically with the guys that play for us. You know the same size and speed and all that. He was very productive in college in a big program so we’re anxious to see if he can’t push and fight for a spot here.
This is a Seahawks blog so I’m going to turn strictly to Seattle’s side of the pickup now. I think it was Paul Beyer on 12 for 12’s that mentioned that he was hoping for Mr. Jeffcoat to be drafted and I fully concur with the sentiment.
In fact I saw enough of the Longhorns during his college career that he was one of the first guys I put on my five man watch-list for the Seahawks on day 3, but my list was more geared toward the fourth round and after looking into the inauspicious concerns that scouts had with him I knew he wouldn’t be drafted even that early. I very nearly still put him on a short list of other names to watch, but ultimately dismissed the list because there began to be too many kids I liked. Not to say that Jeffcoat wasn’t at the top of the list, he was, but naming him and ten others seemed counterproductive to my list.
Not to worry, the Seahawks saw what I did from Jeffcoat at Texas, or at least I saw enough of what they saw to make me a certifiable smarty for hoping this would take place, some way, somehow. I still simply cannot believe he wasn’t drafted by someone in need of an edge rusher, it’s incredible to me. The more I look at him, the more I realize just how much of a theft this was by Ken Norton and the entire Seahawks’ organization. I just hope this doesn’t cause them to be investigated, because it was a definite crime for the best defense in the league to make this signing happen.
He must not ‘pop’ on film or something, but Jeffcoat has a natural, fluid athleticism in his game, good speed for the position, a relentless attitude in pursuit and better-than-good instincts for the ball. He was also far and away Texas’ best defender, which of course makes sense being the player of the year. I know, “duh”
But think about the correlation directly with the UT as a historically huge defensive juggernaut and what Texas defenders have historically done in the NFL vs how much NFL teams look at certain programs, such as Texas (a football Mecca of talent, if you haven’t heard, and yes Jeffcoat is actually from Plano, TX) on a regular basis.
It makes no sense, how was he missed? Just a credit to how much college team records play into these sorts of things, allowing NFL teams to be scammed based on team performance while attempting to find the individual talent of today.
So it looks like the Hawks have done it again. Of course everything has to pan out but my god! Jackson Jeffcoat in Seattle, the only way I thought it was possible was by picking him in the seven rounds allotted for picking players like him and with the connections that the Seattle organization has with Texas (you know that Earl Thomas deal) I really thought they’d scoop him in a heartbeat on day 3 if it got to the fifth or sixth rounds. Turns out by waiting it out the Seahawks might have gotten another kid with that big ole’ chip just chillin’ on his shoulder. As we know, that’s a dangerous proposition for the rest of the NFL.