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Scout's Notebook: Eagles WR DeSean Jackson

About the Author

Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki

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Posted Oct. 05, 2011 @ 12:03 p.m. ET
By Nolan Nawrocki

Notes: Older brother, Byron, spent two seasons on the Chiefs' practice squad. Named MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a senior in high school despite attempting to sommersault from the five-yard line for a touchdown and landing at the one. Entered the NFL as a true junior following 2007 season after racking up a Pac-10 career record six punt returns for TDs. Finished career with 162 catches for 2,423 yards and 22 TDs. Became the seventh receiver drafted in 2008 (49th overall) by the Eagles in a draft that for the first time did not feature a first-round receiver. Started immediately upon his arrival and set new Eagles rookie records for catches and yards with 62-912-2 (14.7). Started all 15 games in which he played in '09, recording 62-1,156-9 and 47-1,056-6 (22.5) in '10, earning Pro Bowl nods both years, becoming the first player to be honored as a receiver and returner last season despite starting only 14 games. Missed two games with a concussion after taking a devastating hit from Dunta Robinson and suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of the playoffs. Used a gay slur on a radio caller in the summer of '11. Sat out training camp seeking a long-term contract he did not receive. In four starts in '11, has notched 16-324-1 (20.3) while battling through a forearm injury early in season. Has also rushed 46-340-33 during career with 11 fumbles and returned 49 punts for 1,130 yards and 4 TDs.

Positives: Explosively fast in a straight line and can take the top off a defense. Has a fluid stride and can accelerate at the top of his stems and separate with ease. Highly competitive and confident — plays with a chip on his shoulder. Outstanding deep-ball production — tracks it well downfield with good body control and feet (runs underneath the ball like a centerfielder.) Good run vision, balance and burst after the catch — navigates through traffic and can make tacklers miss. Comes through in the clutch and responds in pressure situations.

Negatives: Is short, very slight-framed and has been nagged by many injuries throughout his career — long-term durability remains the greatest concern. Lacks run strength and is easily tossed aside as a blocker. Not a crafty or polished route-runner. Can be intimidated in the middle of the field and easily re-routed against physical press coverage. Is mouthy, immature and egotistical and needs to be managed closely. Overly flamboyant celebrating and foolish penalties have shown up at every level throughout his career.

Summary: One of the league's most explosive playmakers when healthy, Jackson is most effective outside the numbers on fly and post patterns. Is tied for the league lead with three 40-yard-plus catches in the first four games and keeps defenses honest with his ability to separate downfield. Has proven he can be dangerous in the return game, although he has not been heavily used and does not have the frame to withstand high-impact collisions. Must prove he can stay healthy and fall in line to warrant the big contract he is seeking and is likely to be tagged as a franchise player next offseason.

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