Summary: The athletic freak Myles Jack was a top recruit and an immediate superstar starting in his true freshman season. Jack entered college with a NFL skill set, displaying a ridiculous combination of speed, size and athleticism. There is just an abundance of God-given talent that Jack wakes up with in the morning, and the scary thing is he is just scratching the surface of his potential.
Not only was Jack a freshman starter in 2013; he became a superstar who was named the Pac-12's Offensive AND Defensive Freshman of the Year. On the defensive side of the ball, Jack notched 75 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions. Jack was playing both ways in 2013 because of injuries at running back, rumbling for 267 yards on 38 carries (7.0 average) with seven touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Jack racked up 87 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, seven passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. Jack's 2015 season ended early after suffering a torn meniscus in practice that required surgery. In his abbreviated year, he totaled 15 tackles with one breakup, one interception and two carries for seven yards with a touchdown. For his final college game, Jack notched six tackles, an interception and a pass broken up against BYU. Versus Virginia in Week 1, he had seven tackles on defense with two carries for seven yards and a touchdown on offense.
At the combine, sources said that Jack interviewed well, though he did not work out. One other positive was that Jack was about 15 pounds heavier than expected. Being in the mid-240s allows teams to project Jack to potentially playing some inside linebacker as well as being an outside linebacker. Since the combine, Jack has been given full clearance, and he will work out for NFL teams prior to the 2016 NFL Draft.
Jack is a well-balanced defender for the next level. For run defense, he has sideline-to-sideline speed to track down ball-carriers. Jack also is good at reading his keys and exploding through the scrum to take down backs. Adding some strength should help to him shed blocks and hold up against downhill runs coming straight at him. Jack has natural strength to defend the run. He may never lead the NFL in tackles and be a prolific run defender, but he should be dependable and an asset at stopping other teams' ground games.
In pass coverage, Jack is an amazing and extremely rare prospect. He does things that linebackers are not supposed to be able to do. UCLA tape shows see him line up as a nickel cornerback over tight ends or slot receivers and run with them to prevent separation. In the NFL, he could be a tremendous linebacker weapon to neutralize receiving-threat tight ends and help against receivers in the middle of the field. Sources say that Jack would practice with the corners at UCLA and that his man-coverage skills are tremendous. Labelling his man-coverage skills as extremely rare is an understatement regarding Jack in pass coverage.
Jack also is great in zone coverage to pick up receivers coming into his area and keeping them from getting open. He has incredible ball skills for a linebacker with soft hands to make interceptions and perfectly times slapping passes away. His athleticism and ball skills could make him a great asset to take away receiving tight ends like Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce or Tyler Eifert.
Jack shouldn't be used as running back regularly in the NFL. That's begging for him to be injured, but he could be a nice goal-line back on special occasions. He also could be a good player on special teams, especially rushing punters.
For the NFL, Jack would be a perfect fit as a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3 defense. In a 3-4, he could play inside linebacker. Jack should be a three-down starter quickly, and he could reach Pro Bowl level early in his NFL. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Jack becomes a star and is one of the best pros to come out of the 2016 NFL Draft. With his tremendous athletic upside, the sky is the limit for Jack.
Player Comparison: Derrick Brooks. I don't like to pick Hall of Famers for comparisons because it isn't fair to the prospect, but when watching Jack, Brooks comes to mind. The reason for that is the "once in a decade" pass-coverage skills, the ability to run sideline-to-sideline, and the rare athleticism. Nobody can't expect Jack to be as good as Brooks, but I think that Jack will be a similar style linebacker in the NFL.
NFL Matches: San Diego, Dallas, Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York Giants
There are a few options for Jack in the top of the first round. San Diego is perhaps the highest that Jack could hope to go. The Chargers released Donald Butler, so Jack could intrigue them, but they drafted Denzel Perryman last year, and he played really well as a rookie. However with Perryman and Manti Te'o, Jack seems unlikely to go to the Chargers.
Dallas would make a ton of sense for Jack. The Cowboys' defense has missed Sean Lee when he's been out with injuries, and the veteran has a hard time staying healthy. Jack would be a perfect fit in Rod Marinelli's defense as a Will (weakside) linebacker. Marinelli was with Derrick Brooks in Tampa Bay, so Jack could be too good to pass up.
With the sixth pick, the Ravens could consider Jack, although that is unlikely considering they took C.J. Mosley in the first round a couple of years ago and Arthur Brown the year before that. However, Baltimore did cut starting inside linebacker Daryl Smith this offseason.
The 49ers might consider Jack after all of their losses at the inside linebacker position. However, San Francisco has bigger needs to address, including quarterback.
The Eagles traded into the top 10, and that could put Jack in play for them. Philadelphia dealt Kiko Alonso away and cut DeMeco Ryans, so Jack could make sense for the team's first-round choice.
If Jack slides in the top 10, he shouldn't get past the Giants. New York has been missing a difference-maker at linebacker for years and Jerry Reese likes freak athletes. It would be shocking if the Giants passed on Jack.