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    Linehan likes WR Jackson ..

    Thomas on the Draft: Linehan likes WR Jackson
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/17/2008

    Cal wide receiver DeSean Jackson in a game last season.
    (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

    Third in a series of NFL Draft notebooks by Jim Thomas, exclusively on STLtoday.com. Today's topic: wide receivers.

    Should the Rams draft Californiaís DeSean Jackson, he wonít be a total stranger to offensive coordinator Al Saunders and quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.

    "I met them when I was younger," Jackson said. "My freshman year of high school, my brother had a chance to take me to training camp. Going in there, meeting them when I was young ó I met Dick Vermeil, I met some other coaches out there ó I felt really good at the training camp."

    Saunders, Shea and Vermeil were all with Kansas City at the time. Jacksonís older brother ó Bryon ó once was a member of the Chiefsí practice squad.

    Who knows? DeSean Jackson could renew acquaintances with Saunders and Shea this training camp as a St. Louis Ram. He was among the wideouts paying pre-draft visits this week to Rams Park.

    Generally projected as a late first-round prospect, Jackson would be very tempting if still around when the Rams pick early in Round 2. League sources say Rams coach Scott Linehan likes Jackson a lot ó and whatís not to like?

    At Cal, Jackson was a big play waiting to happen. Turning pro following his junior season, Jackson scored 29 touchdowns in 36 college games. Last year alone, he had a 44-yard pass reception, a 73-yard run from scrimmage, and a 77-yard punt return.

    Despite suffering a badly-sprained thumb in Calís Ď07 season opener, Jackson caught a career-high 65 passes. He finished with six punt returns for TDs in his college career ó a Pacific-10 Conference record.

    "I consider myself a receiver first," Jackson said. "Thatís just an (addition) I can bring to a football team ó the ability to return kicks and punts, and just bring an electrifying air to the game."

    At the NFL Scouting Combine, Jacksonís 4.35-second 40-yard dash led all wide receivers. The only other wideouts in that neighborhood were Floridaís Andre Caldwell, Missouriís Will Franklin, and Appalachian Stateís Dexter Jackson ó all at 4.37 seconds.

    Seemingly, the only thing Jackson lacks is size at 5-9 1/2 and 169 pounds.

    "Itís not going to hurt me," Jackson said. "You can put on my film, and actually see I play bigger than what I really am."

    However, Jackson does admit he could "get stronger and put a little bulk on me."


    JAMES HARDY: ON THE COURT AND IN COURT

    James Hardy was a two-sports standout at Elmhurst High in Fort Wayne, Ind. But it looked like basketball would be his calling -- he was a top 100 recruit in hoops.

    But after one season on the court for the Indiana Hoosiers, in which he appeared in 23 games with three starts, Hardy switched to football full time.

    "I always thought I was better in basketball, but I just look at my potential in football now," Hardy said. "Itís much greater than it was in basketball. Basketball is history."

    Hardy hopes his off-the-field problems are history, too.

    In May 2006, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery after his girlfriend accused him of hitting her and the coupleís infant child. He pled not guilty, and the case was settled through a pre-draft diversion agreement.

    That fall, Hardy was suspended for two non-conference games for issues that IUís football coach at the time ó the late Terry Hoeppner ó said were unrelated to the arrest.

    "As a young man, I never had no one to actually sit me down and tell me things Iíve done wrong," Hardy said. "I can honestly tell you as a man right here that Iíve made mistakes in the past, and Iíve learned from them, and they wonít happen again. . . . Thatís all I can do, and just show (NFL teams) the actual person that I am."

    The Rams are intrigued enough by Hardyís football skills that he was among five wide receivers brought in this week for pre-draft visits. Heís projected as a late firstó, early second-round pick. But the team does have some concerns about Hardyís off-field problems.

    Although his game needs polish, Hardy has excellent size (6-6, 217) and ran a 4.45 in the 40 at the Combine. He caught a school-record 79 passes last season, good for 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    "I feel I am the best receiver in this class," Hardy said. "Now I just have to make everyone else feel that way."


    SISTER(S) ACT

    When the mail arrived that day at Pierre Garconís home in West Palm Beach, Fla., he quickly took notice of the return address: Indianapolis -- home of the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

    "I thought it was a joke at first," Garcon said. "Yeah, I was afraid to open it. . . . I was surprised they sent it to my house, too, because Iím not usually there. I was there for Christmas break. I didnít expect it, didnít see it coming, didnít hear anything from the Combine, from the NFL."

    It was indeed an invitation to the Combine for Garcon, who played at NCAA Division III Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. Suffice to say, Garcon accepted the invite.

    He ran well and drilled well at the Combine, and now heís on the verge of being drafted.

    "I knew I had a small chance, a shot in the dark," Garcon said. "But I didnít imagine it. It was always a dream; now itís reality."

    Or close to it.

    Poor grades in high school prevented Garcon from even attempting to play Division I football in college. So how did he straighten up?

    "My sisters really convinced me," Garcon said. "I thought football would just take me anywhere. I didnít have the grades to go D-I, and my sisters got on me, so I decided to change that up real quick."

    After a year at Division III Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, Garcon transferred to Mount Union.

    "(Norwich) was a military academy, and I was a civilian," he said. "I decided that wasnít the best fit for me."

    He spent the next three seasons at Mount Union, helping the Purple Raiders win Division III national championships in 2005 and í06. Including the season at Norwich, Garcon became only the sixth player in Division III history to compile more than 4,000 career receiving yards. (He had 4,380.)

    His total of 60 career TD catches is second only to Scott Pingel in Division III history. Pingel, the new head football coach at CBC High in St. Louis, caught 75 TD passes at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in the late 1990s.

    At 6-0, 210 pounds, Garcon has decent size. And his 4.42-second 40-yard dash was one of the faster times among wide receivers at the Combine.

    "Iím very blessed," Garcon said.


    LAST YEARíS TOP 5

    Player: Calvin Johnson
    College: Georgia Tech
    NFL Team: Detroit
    Rd. (Overall):1 (2)
    Second among NFL rookie wideouts in catches (48) and reception yards (756).

    Player: Ted Ginn Jr.
    College: Ohio State
    NFL Team: Miami
    Rd. (Overall):1 (9)
    Set Dolphins rookie mark with 2,086 combined yards (rushing, receiving, returns).

    Player: Dwayne Bowe
    College: LSU
    NFL Team: Kansas City
    Rd. (Overall):1 (23)
    Led all NFL rookie wideouts in catches (70) and reception yards (995).

    Player: Robert Meachem
    College: Tennessee
    NFL Team: New Orleans
    Rd. (Overall):1 (27)
    Was not active for any games as a rookie because of a knee injury.

    Player: Craig Davis
    College: LSU
    NFL Team: San Diego
    Rd. (Overall):1 (30)
    In 14 games, including 1 start, had 20 catches for 188 yards and 1 TD.


    LOCAL LINE

    Player: Will Franklin
    College: Missouri
    Ht./Wt.: 6-2/214
    A sizzling 40 time at the Combine has helped push Franklin into middle rounds.


    DRAFT POTPOURRI/WR

    * Andre Caldwell of Florida said the weirdest question asked by NFL teams during the pre-draft process was: Do you have any pets?

    So does he? "No," Caldwell said.

    * Vanderbiltís Earl Bennett is the Southeastern Conferenceís career leader for receptions (236), and he did it in just three seasons -- turning pro a year early. "I take a lot of pride in that," he said.

    * Alabamaís D.J. Hall, who broke Ozzie Newsomeís school record for career receiving yards, has a brother named Magic.


  2. #2
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    Re: Linehan likes WR Jackson ..

    Last edited by Rambos; -04-18-2008 at 01:21 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Linehan likes WR Jackson ..

    For all of DeSean Jackson's merits (and they are many), his size still scares the daylights out of me if we draft him. I have never heard of 5'9", 169-pound NFL player. Look on NFLDraftcountdown, and you won't find a kicker listed under 170 pounds--and the 170-pound kicker is three inches shorter than Jackson.

    I'm not keen on Hardy, though. I just don't get excited when a receiver's biggest claim to fame is his height. The knocks on Hardy range from consistency to game speed, route running, character, and maybe being a better athlete than football player. If we want a redzone threat who can make tough catches over the middle, I'd rather take Malcolm Kelly. And if we're actually looking for a guy who can go deep, there are a number of players I'd look at before Hardy.

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    Re: Linehan likes WR Jackson ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    For all of DeSean Jackson's merits (and they are many), his size still scares the daylights out of me if we draft him. I have never heard of 5'9", 169-pound NFL player. Look on NFLDraftcountdown, and you won't find a kicker listed under 170 pounds--and the 170-pound kicker is three inches shorter than Jackson.
    What about the "other" Jackson (that would be Dexter) .. just as fast or faster and weighs 182 lbs. Fearless over the middle too ..

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    Thomas on the Draft: Linehan likes WR Jackson

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/17/2008

    Third in a series of NFL Draft notebooks by Jim Thomas, exclusively on STLtoday.com. Today's topic: wide receivers.

    Should the Rams draft Californiaís DeSean Jackson, he wonít be a total stranger to offensive coordinator Al Saunders and quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.

    "I met them when I was younger," Jackson said. "My freshman year of high school, my brother had a chance to take me to training camp. Going in there, meeting them when I was young ó I met Dick Vermeil, I met some other coaches out there ó I felt really good at the training camp."

    Saunders, Shea and Vermeil were all with Kansas City at the time. Jacksonís older brother ó Bryon ó once was a member of the Chiefsí practice squad.

    Who knows? DeSean Jackson could renew acquaintances with Saunders and Shea this training camp as a St. Louis Ram. He was among the wideouts paying pre-draft visits this week to Rams Park.

    Generally projected as a late first-round prospect, Jackson would be very tempting if still around when the Rams pick early in Round 2. League sources say Rams coach Scott Linehan likes Jackson a lot ó and whatís not to like?

    At Cal, Jackson was a big play waiting to happen. Turning pro following his junior season, Jackson scored 29 touchdowns in 36 college games. Last year alone, he had a 44-yard pass reception, a 73-yard run from scrimmage, and a 77-yard punt return.

    Despite suffering a badly-sprained thumb in Calís Ď07 season opener, Jackson caught a career-high 65 passes. He finished with six punt returns for TDs in his college career ó a Pacific-10 Conference record.

    "I consider myself a receiver first," Jackson said. "Thatís just an (addition) I can bring to a football team ó the ability to return kicks and punts, and just bring an electrifying air to the game."

    At the NFL Scouting Combine, Jacksonís 4.35-second 40-yard dash led all wide receivers. The only other wideouts in that neighborhood were Floridaís Andre Caldwell, Missouriís Will Franklin, and Appalachian Stateís Dexter Jackson ó all at 4.37 seconds.

    Seemingly, the only thing Jackson lacks is size at 5-9 1/2 and 169 pounds.

    "Itís not going to hurt me," Jackson said. "You can put on my film, and actually see I play bigger than what I really am."

    However, Jackson does admit he could "get stronger and put a little bulk on me."


    JAMES HARDY: ON THE COURT AND IN COURT

    James Hardy was a two-sports standout at Elmhurst High in Fort Wayne, Ind. But it looked like basketball would be his calling -- he was a top 100 recruit in hoops.

    But after one season on the court for the Indiana Hoosiers, in which he appeared in 23 games with three starts, Hardy switched to football full time.

    "I always thought I was better in basketball, but I just look at my potential in football now," Hardy said. "Itís much greater than it was in basketball. Basketball is history."

    Hardy hopes his off-the-field problems are history, too.

    In May 2006, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery after his girlfriend accused him of hitting her and the coupleís infant child. He pled not guilty, and the case was settled through a pre-draft diversion agreement.

    That fall, Hardy was suspended for two non-conference games for issues that IUís football coach at the time ó the late Terry Hoeppner ó said were unrelated to the arrest.

    "As a young man, I never had no one to actually sit me down and tell me things Iíve done wrong," Hardy said. "I can honestly tell you as a man right here that Iíve made mistakes in the past, and Iíve learned from them, and they wonít happen again. . . . Thatís all I can do, and just show (NFL teams) the actual person that I am."

    The Rams are intrigued enough by Hardyís football skills that he was among five wide receivers brought in this week for pre-draft visits. Heís projected as a late firstó, early second-round pick. But the team does have some concerns about Hardyís off-field problems.

    Although his game needs polish, Hardy has excellent size (6-6, 217) and ran a 4.45 in the 40 at the Combine. He caught a school-record 79 passes last season, good for 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    "I feel I am the best receiver in this class," Hardy said. "Now I just have to make everyone else feel that way."


    SISTER(S) ACT

    When the mail arrived that day at Pierre Garconís home in West Palm Beach, Fla., he quickly took notice of the return address: Indianapolis -- home of the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

    "I thought it was a joke at first," Garcon said. "Yeah, I was afraid to open it. . . . I was surprised they sent it to my house, too, because Iím not usually there. I was there for Christmas break. I didnít expect it, didnít see it coming, didnít hear anything from the Combine, from the NFL."

    It was indeed an invitation to the Combine for Garcon, who played at NCAA Division III Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. Suffice to say, Garcon accepted the invite.

    He ran well and drilled well at the Combine, and now heís on the verge of being drafted.

    "I knew I had a small chance, a shot in the dark," Garcon said. "But I didnít imagine it. It was always a dream; now itís reality."

    Or close to it.

    Poor grades in high school prevented Garcon from even attempting to play Division I football in college. So how did he straighten up?

    "My sisters really convinced me," Garcon said. "I thought football would just take me anywhere. I didnít have the grades to go D-I, and my sisters got on me, so I decided to change that up real quick."

    After a year at Division III Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, Garcon transferred to Mount Union.

    "(Norwich) was a military academy, and I was a civilian," he said. "I decided that wasnít the best fit for me."

    He spent the next three seasons at Mount Union, helping the Purple Raiders win Division III national championships in 2005 and í06. Including the season at Norwich, Garcon became only the sixth player in Division III history to compile more than 4,000 career receiving yards. (He had 4,380.)

    His total of 60 career TD catches is second only to Scott Pingel in Division III history. Pingel, the new head football coach at CBC High in St. Louis, caught 75 TD passes at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in the late 1990s.

    At 6-0, 210 pounds, Garcon has decent size. And his 4.42-second 40-yard dash was one of the faster times among wide receivers at the Combine.

    "Iím very blessed," Garcon said.



    LAST YEARíS TOP 5

    Player: Calvin Johnson
    College: Georgia Tech
    NFL Team: Detroit
    Rd. (Overall):1 (2)
    Second among NFL rookie wideouts in catches (48) and reception yards (756).

    Player: Ted Ginn Jr.
    College: Ohio State
    NFL Team: Miami
    Rd. (Overall):1 (9)
    Set Dolphins rookie mark with 2,086 combined yards (rushing, receiving, returns).

    Player: Dwayne Bowe
    College: LSU
    NFL Team: Kansas City
    Rd. (Overall):1 (23)
    Led all NFL rookie wideouts in catches (70) and reception yards (995).

    Player: Robert Meachem
    College: Tennessee
    NFL Team: New Orleans
    Rd. (Overall):1 (27)
    Was not active for any games as a rookie because of a knee injury.

    Player: Craig Davis
    College: LSU
    NFL Team: San Diego
    Rd. (Overall):1 (30)
    In 14 games, including 1 start, had 20 catches for 188 yards and 1 TD.


    LOCAL LINE

    Player: Will Franklin
    College: Missouri
    Ht./Wt.: 6-2/214
    A sizzling 40 time at the Combine has helped push Franklin into middle rounds.


    DRAFT POTPOURRI/WR

    * Andre Caldwell of Florida said the weirdest question asked by NFL teams during the pre-draft process was: Do you have any pets?

    So does he? "No," Caldwell said.

    * Vanderbiltís Earl Bennett is the Southeastern Conferenceís career leader for receptions (236), and he did it in just three seasons -- turning pro a year early. "I take a lot of pride in that," he said.

    * Alabamaís D.J. Hall, who broke Ozzie Newsomeís school record for career receiving yards, has a brother named Magic.

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