Yesterday was Father’s Day to most of the world, but I decided to make it Jaiquawn Jarrett Day. I liked watching him play in 2010, but was still really caught off guard when the Eagles took him in the 2nd round. He’s grown on me since the draft, but I decided to do some more tape study and research on him.
I watched him vs Ohio and UConn. He picked off a pass in the Ohio game. It was a poor downfield throw. Jarrett was in the right postion and showed pretty good ball skills in making the pick. He played very little in the box in that game, generally staying deep as the FS. He did take good angles to the ball when going to make tackles.
UConn was a different game. They run a lot. That allowed Jarrett to move around more and get some time in the box. The two best plays Jarrett made were on run blitzes. He took on pulling Guards. He didn’t do this in space by diving at their feet. He took them on in traffic and did so up high. On one play he fought off the block and got in on the tackle (a TFL I think). The other play he affected the run by stuffing the G and let a LB make the tackle. You like it when a 198-pound Safety has no hesitance about taking on 300-pound linemen. Hell, he expects to beat them. That’s a mentality I want in a SS.
Jarrett can play FS or SS. I think he’s okay in space. I think he really shines when he plays in the box. He is a good hitter, but I’m real impressed with him as a tackler. I can’t tell you how many young DBs won’t tackle. They “cut tackle”, meaning that they try to dive through the legs of the runner/receiver without wrapping up. That can work in college, but is dangerous in the NFL. Try that on Adrian Peterson and you’ll bounce off and watch him run for a TD. You must wrap up. Jarrett goes low when he tackles and pretty consistently is able to wrap up his targets. There are some plays when he will just hit the guy, but sometimes that’s all you can do.
He did knock one receiver out of the UConn game. The player was trying to get away from one defender who had him by the leg. Jarrett came up to finish things off. And being a nice young man, he decided to help the receiver to the ground. It was a tad forceful so the training staff had to come out and help the receiver to the sideline. Not a dirty hit at all. Just tough.
I happened to re-listen to Greg Cosell of NFL Films talking about him to Dave Spadaro. Greg loved Jarrett. I think he said Jaiquawn was his highest rated Safety in the whole draft. Here’s the link to the Eagles Live talk with Cosell. Interestingly, he mentions the Eagles should go after a CB in the 3rd round. Dave asked who the Eagles should get. Cosell didn’t know who the Eagles might like, but did mention that he was high on this kid named Curtis Marsh. Clearly Cosell was on the same page as Andy Reid, Howie Roseman, and Juan Castillo when it came to evaluating DBs.
Cosell mentions how much he loved Jarrett in the Temple/Penn State game. Someone was kind enough to put together a great video of Jarrett in that game. He missed a tackle on one of the first plays and then played lights out the rest of the way. Here’s that game.
Jarrett played in the Senior Bowl. A dedicated Temple fan put together a video of Jarrett’s snaps from the game. He played both SS and FS. He looks so much more natural in the box. The thing to watch for in this video is just how physical he is with guys who try to block him. You’ll also see him in man coverage in some sets. That isn’t his strength, but he’s also not completely lost. Here’s the Senior Bowl clips.
Many of you know my good friend Matt Alkire from our work together at ScoutsNotebook. He is a recruiting guru for Scout.com. Matt spoke to an assistant coach for a team that faced Temple multiple times in the last four years. Matt asked the coach his thoughts on Jarrett. To paraphrase it as nicely as possible, “Thank god he’s gone.”
The coach gave Jarrett the ultimate compliment for a Safety. He said that his runners/receivers hated crossing the middle because they knew Jarrett was back there and could unleash some brutal hits. The coach had seen Jarrett really pop some of his guys and wanted Jaiquawn to graduate or get locked up (purely a joke because of the hits), but that he was tired of facing him.
If ever there was a glowing recommendation from an opposing coach for a physical Safety, that’s it. Forget about your resume, that’s what you want on your tombstone. “Here lies a Safety that opposing coaches and players hated to face because he regularly knocked the crap out of them.” Pure poetry.
We won’t know if Jaiquawn Jarrett is ready to start this year until we see him in practice and the preseason. I do know that the more I read and hear about the guy does give me confidence that he’s the kind of rookie who can play right away. A quick resolution to the lockout situation would certainly help Jarrett’s case to be the starter quite a bit. He can’t make up for the missed time, but it is still possible for him get plenty of work in before the real games are schedule to start.