Tanard Jackson Is The Next Great Buccaneer

Josh SherhagContributor INovember 12, 2009

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 18:  Safeties Sabby Piscitelli #21 and Tanard Jackson #36 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate Jackson's touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 18, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

As Tanard Jackson returned an Aaron Rodgers interception back for a touchdown in the last minute of last weeks Bucs - Packers game. Tanard not only iced the first win for Tampa Bay but iced himself as the best player on the team and he deserves notice from the league.

His talent and ability shown on the field can be modestly compared to former defensive MVP Ed Reed with his ball-hawk senses, a nose for the end zone, and unapologetic big hits. "Just a complete, natural football player" as Barrett Ruud put it.

He has had an interception in each game he's played in this season which doubles his career total. He has a forced fumble, two touchdowns, and 23 tackles in just three games. The gaudy stats hes put up don't even begin to tell the whole story.

How about his first interception he ripped from the grips of Randy Moss in the end zone? How about the perfect read on Jake Delhomme's eyes and Steve Smith's route to collect his first pick six? Have you noticed that long pass plays have dwindled?

While the suspension for the first four games due to breaking the substance abuse rules may have dubbed him a character issue on the level of Aquib Talib, he has been able to move forward and put things in perspective and actually become a leader.

"It definitely helped me prioritize my life, what's most important," said Jackson, 24. "And my job, the game I love to play, is at the top of my list."

Guess what? The coaches say he still isn't full speed and has not regained his full tackling ability just yet. He was not able to work with the team during his suspension and has yet to completely gel with the rest of the defensive starters. Just wait until that happens.

If he continues this furious pace a pro bowl won't be far behind him and no doubt the foundation for future Buccaneer Wins.