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NFL Draft 2014 – Scouting Report – Bennett Jackson – Notre Dame
Photo – CB Bennett Jackson – Notre Dame.
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In an exceptionally deep group of cornerbacks, a number of prospects have slipped through the cracks over the long postseason scouting prospect. One prospect - Bennett Jackson of Notre Dame continues to rise up NFL team draft boards off an impressive late career including a strong NFL Combine performance. This corner draft class may be the deepest in recent memory and will supply 30+ draft selections over the three day NFL Draft. Many like Bennett Jackson can be the next diamonds who surprise fans and earn an NFL starting grade in time. Jackson is capable of coming into camp and winning a key role in the nickel and dime packages, in addition to being a special teams ace on coverage units and returner.
Bennett Jackson - CB - Notre Dame
Big agile senior corner had an excellent final season and postseason that sees his stock rising quickly entering the final days. He had a strong postseason and excellent Pro Day that has him rising into the middle rounds. He is considered a quality cover man that will be in high demand and probably a top 150 overall prospect. His excellent size/ speed numbers plus his fine grade on film backed up with a strong workout has pushed him up the charts quickly. He is adept at playing man situations with an excellent pedal and quick change of direction skills to mirror receivers. He is also a hitter who will tackle at the line and in the open field. He projects as a starter in the package coverages with some versatility to also play safety.
Draft Insiders’ Yearbook Scouting Report - Cornerback
Bennett Jackson #2 - 6-0, 195 - Notre Dame - Sp. 4.48 Rating 65
Lanky senior athlete is coming off an unheralded career for the Irish defense where he started every game over his final two seasons on the corner. Bennett is a lean rangy athlete with a long reach and quick reactions who will warrant consideration in the late rounds. He moves easily and can make a play on the ball with the ability to blanket receivers. He held up well vs a high level of competition, gaining valuable experience in big games. He displays good reactions with reliable ball skills and instincts. He is an above average athlete who graded out well on savvy and positioning to win in matchups. He can be a physical cover man and a reliable tackler at the line or in the open field, though some shoulder problems developed late in his career. He will come up to support the run and drop runners with the ability to get off blockers to finish and contain. In coverage, he can be physical and play the bump and run, though he has a little tightness in his hips and can lose something vs fast receivers. He matches up well vs big receivers where his speed and length allows him to blanket them and fight for the ball. He plays best in a scheme that allows him either to press at the line or plays off in cover two zone.
As a senior, he started 13 games and totaled 64 tackles with 5 TFL, 1 FF, 3 PBU and 2 interceptions. As a junior, he started 13 games and was credited with 65 tackles with 1.5 TFL, 4 PBU and 4 interceptions. As an underclassman, he was primarily a special teams performer as a kickoff returner and coverage man. At the NFL Combine, he measures in at just under 6’ and 195 lbs. with 31 3/8” arms. He ran a 4.51 with 13 reps and a 38” VL and 10’8” BJ with 6.75 three cone and 4.00 short shuttle. It was a very good workout. He fits into the nickel package role vs possession type receivers where his agility, height and instincts would allow him to compete and earn time. Good experienced corner with the talent to fill a few key roles – nickel and dime corner. He needs to work on his backpedal and open his hips quicker to retain coverage in transition. He lacks the burst to recover when beaten and needs deep support regularly. He needs to get stronger and better technically to utilize his skill set. Prospect with the tools to be a quality role performer with definite make it grade with starting talent to surprise. Fast rising middle round prospect and outstanding special teams performer. Probable starting gunner.
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.