Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Meet The Newest Bucs -- Tanard Jackson

Tanard Jackson was one of the best value picks in the draft not only for the Bucs, but for the whole draft. Jackson was projected to go in the second round by most draft pundits, but fell to the Bucs at the beginning of the fourth round. Jackson played corner in college, but will be making the move to safety in the NFL where he will be more effective.

Jackson was a three year starter at corner back for the Orange. He garnered All-Conference honors his senior season by recording 62 Tackles, 4 Pass Break Ups, 2 Interceptions in 12 games. Jackson is good size for a safety at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He is not overly fast, but has quick bursts to close, which also makes him a better fit at safety.

Jackson's weaknesses are mitigated not only by his move to safety, but also by what the Tampa 2 asks its safeties to do. His main weaknesses that most scouts comment on are a lack of good hands, average speed, and being too aggressive. The aggressive part can easily be fixed by working with Raheem Morris and learning what the Tampa 2 asks of its safeties. To play safety in the Tampa 2 you do not need to be overly fast, nor are you asked to make game changing plays with your hands. Jackson may have struggled at corner or safety in another system, but his weaknesses do not come into play nearly as much playing safety for the Buccaneers.

Jackson definitely has the physical and mental skills needed to play safety in the Tampa 2. Jackson was a 3 year starter and played all four years he was in school. He learns new schemes and defenses very quickly and is also a very smart player on the field. Jackson can play man-to-man or zone. He was one of the most technically sound secondary players in the draft and won't need much coaching outside of the nuances of the Tampa 2. Jackson is also a very physical and solid tackler who is great in run support and stopping screens. Last season a big problem on defense for the Buccaneers was a lot of missed tackles by the safeties and those same safeties playing out of position. Jackson will add some physicality and solid tackling to the Bucs, which is a big part of the Tampa 2 defense. While he most likely will not be a starter this year he will add great things to the special teams and will be a starter soon.

Jackson was a steal in the fourth round and may be the beginning of Bucs getting solid production out of their later round picks. The Bucs have not done much with their 4-7 round picks, but Jackson will defiantly change that trend. The Bucs retooled their defense with this draft, and when you add Jackson to Piscatelli the Bucs will have a very solid secondary for years to come.

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