An Article By: Curtis Rukavina
With the draft a few days away, names such as Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree, Mark Sanchez and Aaron Curry are all considered the elite prospects in this draft. Yet there is an under-the-radar prospect who may be more sought after than any of those listed above. His name is Tyson Jackson and he is the most versatile player on the defensive line in this year’s draft. Jackson has the ability to play defensive end in the 3-4 alignment, as well as defensive end and nose tackle in the 4-3 alignment.
There have been many teams recently who have abandoned the 4-3 defense and introduced the 3-4 hybrid defense. This requires substantial change, as far as personnel is concerned. 4-3 defensive ends project toward the linebacker position in the 3-4, and defensive tackles in a 4-3 may not have a home at all in the 3-4 defense. Tyson Jackson benefits from being the top-rated defensive end prospect, bringing adaptability to both schemes. It also helps that there are five teams in the top 10 picks that are in need of his services.
Kansas City recently overhauled their entire coaching staff and front office and made the switch from the 4-3 to 3-4. They simply don’t have all the personnel that is necessary to run the 3-4 defense and will look to address this through the draft. Scott Pioli played a large role in deciding who the Patriots would select in years past– and rarely failed. The Chiefs have been linked to Tyson Jackson and that is the highest I see him going.
Cleveland, Green Bay and San Francisco are all very likely destinations for Jackson if Kansas City chooses not to select him. Each of those teams have huge holes at the 3-4 defensive end position and would immediately benefit with Jackson on their roster . Jacksonville is a possibility based on their history of selecting big lineman whether to play defensive tackle or end in their 4-3.
I do not think he slips past the Broncos at the 12th pick, as they would have a steal if he fell to them. Tyson Jackson has all the intangibles and triangle numbers that make him a top prospect. It will show with his draft position on Saturday.