Jackson Jeffcoat is a legacy at Texas and has left his mark with a significant amount of production along the way. The defensive end and outside linebacker pass rusher had been able to give opponents fits because he is so impressive with his speed and strength. As a junior, he unfortunately had a pectoral injury that caused him to miss much of that season and return as a senior. As a senior, he was productive on the stat sheet, putting up another big season, but the Longhorns moved him around to find ways to use him, because he basically left the program without an obvious position going to the NFL.
Jeffcoat has the physical tools to be a great player in the NFL, but he a technical mess, especially at the snap. It holds him back so much and makes him substantially less effective as a player. Jeffcoat has a ton of tools to work with but he needs to find a home in the NFL in terms of position and will likely have to keep his roster spot by dominating on special teams as he learns a position. His athleticism will likely get him drafted somewhere on day three, but Jeffcoat, properly developed, could still end up as an extremely productive NFL player. If he cannot fix those major technical issues, he may be out of the league quickly.
Vitals & Build
Jeffcoat measured 6’3” 247lbs at the scouting combine with 33 7/8” arms. He has a good build with impressive strength. Jeffcoat shows he has impressive agility and his ability to change directions as well as his body control. His burst and top end speed are good. Athletically, Jeffcoat is really impressive but he has so many habits that make him perform worse than his physical ability should. He is best served in simply maximizing his physical ability by not getting in his own way, but he still has athletic upside as well.
Snap Anticipation & First Step
Everything about this is bad. Jeffcoat does not anticipate the snap well and is usually the last to react when the play starts. Worse, that is not his biggest problem.
Jeffcoat’s first step is miserable. It is really problematic when he is working from a two-point stance because he takes false steps. Jeffcoat’s stance does not let him explode forward. He has to take a false step or few to then attack up the field. Effectively, he gives every opponent he faces a substantial head start, which puts him at a significant disadvantage from the word go.
He also gives up any and all leverage he has whether it be from a two-point, three-point or sometimes Jeffcoat will use a four-point stance. Jeffcoat immediately exposes his chest and takes away some potential explosion forward while giving the opponent a target to hit and get control of him.
As a result, Jeffcoat then has to work harder to win and use his impressive athletic ability to make up for the ground he gave up to start the play. This issue as it currently stands may ultimately prevent him from having an impact as an edge player. If not addressed and really overhauled, this issue will prevent Jackson from getting on the field in that capacity.
Jeffcoat shows some ability to beat blockers, especially when he has some momentum. He is strong and displays some heavy hands, able to periodically throw opponents aside as he attacks.
Jeffcoat likes to shock opponents, getting a quick jab on them, getting separation and winning with speed. He shows a solid bull rush when he is able to play with good pad level, which is not often enough.
Jeffcoat’s hand speed is impressive and he certainly has tools to work with, but between not maximizing functional strength and relying so much on his speed, there are definitely times when he does not appear to trust his ability to beat blocks.
Jeffcoat is an impressive run and chase linebacker. He can fly around and chase down plays from behind with his speed. Jeffcoat can be frustrating for opponents because he can be engaged in a block and make a quick adjustment to make a play near him or behind him as a result of his quickness.
While there are flashes of Jeffcoat being able to hold up at the point of attack, it mostly is from by stretching the defense out wide rather than attacking up the field. Jeffcoat does not really seem comfortable when he is engaged and is always trying to stay unencumbered to make plays, sometimes at the detriment of his gap.
Whether outside as an end or standup rusher or inside as a linebacker, Jeffcoat has shown he can knife into the backfield and blow up a play before it gets started with speed. He also has shown he can work laterally to the football, though he does not overly comfortable doing it.
Jeffcoat has a lot of talent as a pass rusher after his dreadful starts. He really likes to work outside with speed and explosiveness. Jeffcoat has shown he can run up the field and get around offensive tackles in spite of giving them a head start at the snap. If he can get faster off of the start, he can be a bigger threat consistently.
Jeffcoat tries to keep opponents honest by attacking to the inside and faking up the field to attack underneath the opponent. His speed and explosiveness allows him to get the quarterback incredibly fast and his closing speed is outstanding.
Jeffcoat has a decent bull rush by virtue of being able to convert speed to power and get opponents off balance, driving under their pads. He needs to do a better job of maximizing his functional strength to make the most of it.
Jeffcoat has quick hands, but he struggles to get past blockers when they are able to take away his momentum. Again, pad level comes into play, but he has potential to get better.
Jeffcoat has some experience in coverage but it is more of a changeup situation. From an athletic standpoint, he is really well suited for it with his athleticism, speed and fluidity. He needs to get substantially more experience with it, but with hard work and dedication, it could be a viable addition to his game.
Jeffcoat appears to be best suited in a 3-4 scheme simply because they can use more athletes in space, but it remains to be seen where he will play. An edge rusher seems like the most natural fit for him, but his false steps and issues at the snap could make it impossible for him to play that role.
Jeffcoat could play as an inside linebacker in a see ball, get ball type role, but he needs to get better when it comes different aspects of the game. He could be a 4-3 defensive end or conceivably a linebacker in that scheme as well.
Jeffcoat’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder and he will likely have to start out as a special teams star and work his way into a position. His athleticism is phenomenal but nothing he currently adds up to a single position in the NFL.
Jeffcoat has some similarities to Ahmad Brooks of the San Francisco 49ers. Coming out of Virginia, Brooks was selected in the supplemental draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and really fared poorly there. A nice athlete but in need of direction, he changed positions and really flourished in San Francisco. Jeffcoat has a similar build and tools to Brooks and could having a similar path to success.
Jackson Jeffcoat is a big ball of athleticism that is really raw and needs development, both in replacing bad habits with good ones and learning things he should have learned by now. For whatever reason, Jeffcoat despite a full college career in Austin is bigger and stronger, but not really much better. He still warrants a day three pick, but there are some major fundamental issues that have to be corrected for him to last in the league.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com