Myles Jack – LB, UCLA
And so, one of the most talented linebackers in this drafted finally gets to leave the green room. If Jack wasn’t needing microfacture surgery, he would have likely gone in the top 10 last night; instead, the Jaguars get a fantastic talent who will get a chance to learn the game from Paul Posluzny while he heals up, and then in time replace him. What’s more, when married with last night’s pick of Jalen Ramsey, the Jags have suddenly transformed their defense with just two players. Jack is well worth the fifth round pick it cost the Jags to move up. Phenomenal value for the Jags.
Unfortunately, the two best linebackers in the country both suffered season ending knee injuries this year. Jack was in a way relatively fortunate that his occurred early, as though his surgically repaired ACL is still being heavily scrutinised in medical checks, he is expecting to heal ok. That said, there are still those who remain a little concerned, following his recent medical re-check. That should be kept in mind if he starts slipping a few spots. Back to his play on the field, Jack’s superb film and obvious talents are on full display over the course of two outstanding seasons of play for the Bruins, with the star defender making an immediate impact as a true freshman. A lot of the early attention came from the fact that Jack was proving an effective and exciting playmaker on both sides of the ball, seeing significant time at running back in particular during that first season, on top of his starting linebacker role. Jack ended up winning both the PAC-12 offensive and defensive freshman of the year awards, a first ever in the history of the conference. While he showed enough ability as a runner to lead some scouts to say he could have been a fairly high draft pick solely as an RB, there’s no doubt that his true calling lies at linebacker. Jack has sensational instincts, and is one of the rare and elite modern-style LB pros[ects who really excel in space and coverage, a true three down linebacker who can not only stay on the field, but make big impact plays against the passing game. At times, Jack even lined up essentially as a cornerback on some plays, a real testament to his athleticism, versatility and playmaking skills, and will quite likely see some time at safety as well. Those talents were fully reflected in his production on the stat sheet. His freshman season of 76 tackles, 11 tackles for loss (TFLs), 11 pass break ups (PBUs) and 2 interceptions was followed by 87 tackles, 8 TFLs, 7 PBUs and 1 interception his sophomore season. Not to mention his 5.7 yard per carry career average on 68 touches as a running back too! (Rebecca Rennie)