DeSean Jackon: Wizard of returns
In today's Daily News, we take an in-depth look at DeSean Jackson, the Eagles' second-round draft pick from Cal.
Jackson, a return specialist and wide receiver, is clearly the most buzzed-about among the team's draftees and you almost are hearing more about him than about the Birds' biggest offseason acquisition, Asante Samuel.
Eagles fans have truly been desperate for a kick/punt returner who has the ability to change the game and who can give the Eagles better field position. All you have to do is mention Green Bay and most fans will wince at the thought of JR Reed struggling back there to field punts in the season-opening loss.
Even Donovan McNabb, in his blog posting last week, mentioned Jackson as among the more popular topics that he has been asked about. "He impressed me with his speed and ability to catch the ball. Hopefully he will be able to shorten the field for us with his return ability on special teams, and stretch the field on offense with his speed."
While we will have to wait to see what Jackson can do in the NFL, he certainly put together some impressive highlights while becoming an All-American and All-Pac 10 performer at Cal. Scroll down to take a look.
Here are 5 stray Jackson nuggets that didn't make it into today's story:
1. He said he crossed up nearly everyone around him, forsaking USC for Cal, mostly because he wanted to "start my own legacy," rather than continuing a tradition of Long Beach Poly High stars who have gone on to play for the Trojans. But he also acknowledged there was a some truth to rumors that he didn't like it when USC gave jersey No. 1 to another recruit. Jackson wore No. 1 at Cal, but the NFL doesn't allow single-digit jerseys for wideouts. Instead, he is striking a Koy Detmeresque note with No. 10. Jackson hopes the NFL will change its number policies at some point.
2. Jackson's Eagles teammates Winston Justice and Pago Togafau also played at Long Beach Poly, a prolific producer of NFL talent.
3. Jackson's family story is complicated. He counts five brothers and three sisters. His father, Bill, said DeSean has four biological brothers and two sisters, but the family includes an adopted daughter and three other boys Bill raised because they lacked father figures in their lives.
4. Jackson weighed in at 169 at the Scouting Combine, very possibly costing him a berth in the first round of the draft, but he said he's now up to 175, "eating like a fat person."
5. Jackson said he was impressed that McNabb sought him out in the training room during the first minicamp. "He went out of his way to talk to me."
Eagles rookies and selected veterans are on the field today and tomorrow at NovaCare and then convene next week.
In other news, Rich Hofmann writes today about the unanimous vote by the NFL owners to opt out of the labor agreement.
Also, thought this was interesting. A Web site called ultimatefantasyfootballstrategy.com has done a detailed analysis and ranking of every offensive line in the NFL. They put the Eagles in the "good" category, the second tier of the five groups along with Dallas, Indianapolis, New England, San Diego, among others. The Giants are in the top tier, listed as "very good." Here is more on how they view the Eagles.