Jacksonville Jaguars select Myles Jack at No. 36 in 2016 NFL draft
Myles Jack's fall ended at pick No. 36, when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.
As with the Jaylon Smith pick, this grade is all about risk. Jack is an amazing player when healthy, but he lost most of his 2015 season with a knee injury, and the Jags are seriously betting on potential here. If Jack comes all the way back, he's the model of the modern linebacker with his ability to cover all the way out to the boundary. A special player, and a worthy risk.
Strengths: Jack is the best coverage linebacker in this class, and maybe one of the few best ever to come out of the college ranks. Has legitimate ability to cover running backs on screens, slot receivers up the seam and over the middle, and speed receivers up the boundary. Times his pass breakups impeccably to break up plays—can flirt with interference calls at times, but manages to stay on the right side of things most times. Well-schooled player who is rarely ill-prepared. Full-field run-and-hit player who can handle the mistakes of others and broken plays in addition to his own assignments. Top-notch diagnostic skills—Jack keeps his head on a swivel and to the target even when his body is moving.
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Closes very quickly to the ballcarrier and wrap-tackles with good force for his size. Stacks and sheds at the point of attack and isn’t afraid to mix it up. Missed just six of the 91 tackles he attempted in 2014 and ’15. Actually got stronger in short and intermediate coverage after his knee injury: He allowed a 22.2 opponent passer rating on 11 targets in ’15 after giving up an 82.3 rating on 69 targets in ’14. Not a power player to and through the gap, but makes up for it with excellent timing. Understanding of power situations allows him to force leverage at times and play with more power than he appears to have. Still working on pass-rush moves (one sack in his college career), but had three quarterback hits and nine quarterback hurries in ’14 and could turn this part of his game into an asset.
As a slot and free defender, possesses rare ability to keep up with bigger tight ends and smaller, faster receivers. Understands man and zone concepts and is always aware of his place in the defense. Can turn with slot men running two-way goes and other quick, angular concepts. At times, was tasked with covering top receivers wherever they went, a rare thing for a linebacker of any stripe. Accepts challenges willingly and with determination. Brings an alpha personality to the field and was a leader from the time he arrived on campus.
Weaknesses: Jack does generate power with technique and timing, but he’s not the ideal run-stopping linebacker. The team that takes him will likely understand that and place him more in space to limit the time he spends wrestling with blockers. Can amass penalties in bunches. Gets over-amped occasionally, forcing himself to take extra steps on angles in pursuit. Occasionally can be fooled by misdirection because he plays too fast, but his diagnostic skills mitigate this for the most part. Knee recovery will obviously require serious vetting, as it already has, and could drop him down boards and affect his NFL tenure.