Tennessee Volunteers Football: Updating Player Performances from the NFL Combine

Daniel HudsonCorrespondent IIIFebruary 29, 2012

Tennessee Volunteers Football: Updating Player Performances from the NFL Combine

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    The NFL Combine has a small Tennessee Volunteer representation in Tauren Poole and Malik Jackon. Neither was expected to be a hot name in April's NFL Draft, and unfortunately, they didn't do much to change that mindset this weekend.

    Poole offers all strength and no speed, while Jackson is cursed with mediocrity at both.

    The only way you can get away without specialization at the next level is by being a stud in all areas.

    There's one extra addition to this quick update, simply because this player has a background as a Vol.

    Take a look.

Tauren Poole

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    As bad as the Tennessee Volunteers' running game was in 2011, Tauren Poole's career stats at running back remain fairly strong.

    He averaged 4.4 yards per carry as a starter for two years and added 16 rushing touchdowns. He was one of three current Vols invited to the NFL Combine.

    Poole ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash, a very average 12th among running backs.

    His 24 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press was a solid fourth at his position, but Poole's 7.36 second cone drill was dead last at running back.

    All in all, Poole's performance at the combine was about what we expected. He isn't going to blow anyone away with his speed, but his strength is above average.

    However, he isn't likely to be drafted until the later rounds with finishes out of the top 10 in nearly every event.

Malik Jackson

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    After transferring from USC to Tennessee and then from defensive end to tackle, Malik Jackson shined bright as a player and a leader for the 2011 Volunteers.

    There were a couple moments when I distinctly recall saying, "All he's doing is improving his draft stock."

    Unfortunately, Jackson's performance in the NFL Combine isn't likely to help his stock nearly as much as his play last fall. His size, strength and speed has him stuck in the middle of defensive linemen.

    Is he a slow defensive end or a small defensive tackle?

    It's not a good place to be.

    His experience and size says defensive end, but with a 4.91 second 40-yard dash, -- merely 0.07 seconds faster than the 350-pound Dontari Poe -- Jackson has a long way to go to convince scouts he has the explosiveness to play end in the NFL.

    With only one more bench press repetition (25) than Poole, he didn't prove he could be a strong interior lineman back-up.

    The NFL Combine was tough on Jackson.

    I do, however, expect him to excel in one-on-one interviews.

Janzen Jackson (former Vol)

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    With only two representatives at the NFL Combine from the 2011 Tennessee Volunteers, I decided to include the troubled Janzen Jackson, too.

    Jackson had all the makings of a terrific college safety, but he simply couldn't remain focused on football and was dismissed from the team prior to the 2011 season.

    He transferred to McNeese State but sat out nearly the entire season, making his fairly strong performance at the combine even more impressive.

    Jackson finished in the top five of all safeties in the vertical jump (36.5 inches), broad jump (125 inches) and cone drill (6.9 seconds).

    His nine bench-press repetitions were last in the position, which could be attributed to the lack of professional training for the last few months.

    I believe a team will take a gamble on Jackson after seeing his on-field play and strong performance at the combine. I could even see the Oakland Raiders pitching a first-round pick on him.