Gut Reaction: Broncos draft Malik Jackson at #137

With pick #137, the Broncos drafted an undersized, but athletic and versatile DT/DE tweener in Malik Jackson from Tennessee.

The pick should make Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller happy.  Jackson is the sort of guy who can rotate in on passing downs and add to the Broncos' ability to get to the quarterback.

This is a good value pick and continues the Broncos' foray into drafting another guy (like Omar Bolden) who will specialize on third down.  His body type and raw athleticism remind me a little (don't go crazy, I said it's just a little) of former Bronco Trevor Pryce.  Like Pryce, he'll need to add some bulk to his frame (6-4, 265, but he's reportedly above 280 now) if he wants to play on every down.  He also needs to get tougher at the point of attack.  The NFL will not accommodate the light-handed.

Here's some tape of Jackson from last year:

Pros:

  • Athletic with good agility
  • Versatile; can play both 3-tech and 5-tech
  • Will find a way to the quarterback
  • Good straight-line speed to pursue scramblers

Cons:

  • Will be limited to passing downs
  • Below average against the run
  • Raw technique
  • Lacks bulk
  • Hesitates on occasion

Early on, expect Jackson to be used in multiple fronts on passing downs.  Don't be surprised if you see him on the edge as much as he plays on the inside.  Long term, he's got the sort of athleticism you like in raw prospects.  But he'll need to improve drastically against the run if he wants more.  Still, more than a few NFL careers have been built on third down.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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