In an era where two-way players have become extinct in the NFL, junior linebacker Myles Jack looks to challenge the standard while overcoming adversity.
Just three games into his third season at UCLA, Jack went down in practice with a torn meniscus, abruptly ending a once promising season for the prospect.
Leading up to his injury, Jack had been regarded highly as a first-round pick because of his versatility, athleticism, field vision and awareness.
Despite not having played a down of football since the injury, Jack’s stock has only continued to rise.
Jack, 6’1”-245 pounds, continues to draw comparisons to the San Francisco 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman as the 2016 NFL Draft nears.
September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Olamide Zaccheaus (33) runs the ball against the defense of UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack (30) during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Possessing the third overall pick, the San Diego Chargers’ decision has suddenly become less clear.
With Laremy Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey potentially available, it would be easy for the Chargers to select either player and rebuild their offensive line or secondary, respectively.
However, with a talent such as Jack on the board, it would be worth fielding offers that would allow the Chargers to move down for additional picks while remaining in position to select Jack.
While Jack does not cover an immediate need for the Chargers, he provides them with the opportunity to select a two-way star.
The NFL has not seen a successful two-way player since Deion Sanders. With Jack’s highly regarded athleticism and skill-set; it is very possible to believe that he could be used on both offense and defense.
If selected, Jack would add depth to the Chargers young linebacker corps of Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman.
His tackling skills and exemplary hand-eye coordination make him a prime run stopper to complement Te’o in early down situations while his ability to drop down into coverage would aid Perryman on third down.
As a defender, Jack separated himself from other linebackers with his reputation as a power running back at UCLA.
In three seasons in Westwood, Jack hit pay dirt 11 times including seven as a freshman. His versatility on defense translated into elusiveness on offense as he ran for nearly six yards per carry.
While San Diego currently has Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead as its running backs committee, the addition of Jack provides a goal-line threat that has been missing since Mike Tolbert’s departure in 2011.
Sep 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack (30) heads into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of the game against the Memphis Tigers at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
A possible trio of Jack, Gordon and Woodhead would be very reminiscent to a Chargers team that won four straight AFC West titles from 2006-2009.
During those years, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and either Michael Turner or Mike Tolbert (depending on the year) provided the Chargers with many different running styles and methods of attacking opposing defensive lines.
Having the luxury of three different running styles would allow offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to explore new offensive sets. Additionally, a thriving run game will open up the air for Philip Rivers to pick apart defenses and not force him to throw more than 35 attempts per game.
The presence of Myles Jack would add an entirely new dynamic to the Chargers and should be highly considered in San Diego’s draft plans.