I’ve formally analyzed just one safety prospect this offseason because 1) there simply aren’t too many good ones and 2) I really think the Cowboys will sign a free safety in free agency. When UCLA’s Rahim Moore is the consensus top-rated safety, you know it’s a weak class.
While strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh’s future in Dallas is in limbo, there’s no way free safety Alan Ball will be starting for the ‘Boys in 2011. If the Cowboys do decide to look to the draft for his successor, I think Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett is a strong possibility. In my view, he’s every bit as talented at Moore.
Jaiquawn Jarrett’s size is in question. I’ve seen him listed anywhere from 5’10”, 195 pounds to 6’2”, 210 pounds. Quite the difference. On tape, he appears to be closer to the latter measurements. Jarrett is quick enough to cover slot receivers and big enough to help in run support, blitz, and cover tight ends.
On film, Jarrett appears eager to attack ball-carriers. Although he’s a bit inconsistent in the angles he takes, Jarrett is a pretty good tackler once he gets into position. He wraps up well and keeps his feet moving. Check out the play he makes at the 1:16 mark below. It’s one of the best tackles I’ve seen, well, ever. That’s a big boy Jarrett lifts into the air.
The play Jarrett makes at the 2:29 mark also displays his willingness to make a hit. A free safety flying up to make stick a runner in a short-yardage situation? Yes, please.
I’m also confident that Rob Ryan will love Jarrett’s blitzing ability. He has a ton of experience rushing the passer, which may seem like a very minor part of a free safety’s game, but not in Ryan’s scheme. Ryan places all of his defenders all over the field, so the Cowboys need a safety who can play centerfield at times, yet come down into the box and play with the hogs in other situations.
On the negative side, Jarrett sits in his backpedal too long at times, giving up too much ground so as to not get beat deep. You can see that at the 15-second mark when, with no one threatening him deep, Jarrett gives far too much cushion to a tight end. The exact same thing happens at the 3:08 mark.
Nonetheless, Jarrett looks very fluid in his backpedal and displays natural hips. His change-of-direction is outstanding, and I think he plays faster than he will time (he’s probably a mid-4.5 guy).
For the majority of the prospects I’ve studied, I’ve held a pretty strong opinion regarding their potential draft position. For Jarrett, I really have no idea. I really, really like his game and I think he deserves to be a second-round pick.
Will he get selected that high? I honestly have no clue, but if he drops into the third or even fourth-round (which is certainly possible), the Cowboys need to jump all over him, even if they’ve already signed a free safety prior to the draft.
The only thing Jarrett has going against him, for me, is that it sure would be a bit*h to type “Jaiquawn” all the time.
Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011