Monday, April 28, 2008

Daily Cal: Jackson Drops But Bears Still Impressive

It must have been the longest four hours and 49 minutes of his life.  Cal wideout DeSean Jackson seemed to be a certain first-round NFL draft pick based on his game-breaking speed and agility, but on Saturday he had to wait until the 49th pick to hear his name called.  Six receivers were picked before the Philadelphia Eagles snagged Jackson with the 18th pick in the second round. Concerns about his size-he weighed 169 pounds at the NFL combine-may have caused his stock to plunge on draft day.

"I definitely was surprised because I felt like I would go higher than I did, but God had a plan for me, and I knew it would be a team that would pick me up and put me in a great position," Jackson said to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Everything happens for a reason, and I think this is going to be a great fit for me."

Jackson was the first of six Bears players to be chosen over the draft's two days, a school record in a seven-round draft.  Tight end Craig Stevens and wideout Lavelle Hawkins were both taken by the Tennessee Titans, in the third and fourth round, respectively, while safety Thomas DeCoud went to the Atlanta Falcons in the third round.  The Eagles picked offensive tackle Michael Gibson in the sixth round, while tailback Justin Forsett became the last of five Cal offensive stars chosen, landing with the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh.

Jackson did not endure the same wait as some of his teammates, but his may have been the most excruciating. ESPN kept cutting to shots of Jackson and his family sitting patiently by the phone in Southern California before it became apparent that he would not be picked in the first round.

No receiver was selected in the first round and then six were taken toward the top of the second, including players from Coastal Carolina and Houston. Jackson, once considered the top receiver in the draft, blamed his fall on questions of his size and durability.  "I have been hearing about (my size) all my life," said Jackson, who ended his three-year career at Cal ranked third all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns. "It has been something to motivate me. Sitting back and waiting for my name to be called, I kind of figured that a lot of people were afraid of my size, but like I tell everybody else, my heart is bigger than my size and I play larger than I really am."

But Jackson's costly wait-last year's 49th selection received $1.7 million in guaranteed money while most first-round picks received over $5 million-did little to damper a banner weekend for Cal.  It was the first time the Bears had six players selected since 1977, when the draft included 12 rounds as opposed to the seven currently.  "I'm really just hoping that everything works out for all those guys," coach Jeff Tedford said. "They've all done a lot for our program and we're excited about their next step."


Nomad said...

i'm a die hard eagles fan and even though i'm glad by the jackson pick, couple things still worry me and i was wondering if you could address these two issues:

1. does he have great hands? to be successful in the nfl as a small receiver, you gotta have great hands and be unafraid to get hit - this is my biggest concern.
2. his "heart" - i heard from another site that he was scared of usc players when cal played against the bears. apparently, the trash talking about him not going to usc got to him and wasn't able to play at a high level. is this true? any thoughts about his character/toughness?

i appreciate your feedback in advance

Anonymous said...

DJ has AMAZING hands. He'll catch anything thrown in his vicinity, and I can't remember when he dropped a pass that shoulda been caught.
As for his game against usc, it wasn't the trash talking, but more of the double coverage on him. I think you should be more concerned about his durability off the line when he'll get bumped, but I think DJ will be a surprise (terribly underrated in the draft from the fact that 6 other WR's went ahead of him). And with that said, he'll def play with a chip on his shoulder and will work hard (in my opinion) his first year.
Single coverage home run threat is what I imagine mcnabb will really enjoy.