Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 7:55 p.m. Updated: 11:40 p.m.
By Reuben Frank
Yeah, he runs a 4.62.
Pretty slow for a safety, right?
Dawk ran a 4.60, 4.65 coming out, Andy Reid answered with a smile.
Not that Jaiquawn Jarrett is the next Brian Dawkins, but theres a reason the Eagles werent scared off by the Temple safetys lack of world-class safety speed.
They believe it is far outweighed by his intelligence, skill and toughness.
One of the most intimidating if not the most intimidating safeties in the draft, Reid said. Talk about people wholl come up and smack you, hell come up and smack you.
The Eagles drafted Jarrett with the 54th pick Friday evening, the second straight year theyve taken a safety in the second round.
And its quite likely that 2010 rookie Nate Allen and 2011 rookie Jarrett will be the Eagles starting safeties in 2011 Allen at free safety, Jarrett at strong.
I think a lot of teams shied away from me because of my 40, Jarrett said from his home in the Bedford-Stuyvestant section of Brooklyn. But all a 40 measures is how fast you run a 40. Coach Reid didnt really focus on my testing, just focused on what kind of football player I can become.
Jarrett, who stands 6-2, 195 pounds, isnt Dawkins, but Reid doesnt hesitate to point out the similarities.
Its not fair to compare him to Brian Dawkins, but theyre the same stature, same size, same speed, but theyll both torch you, Reid said. Different personalities, different guys, but I dont think you want to run over the middle on either one of them.
Jarrett is the sixth Temple player the Eagles have taken, the first since defensive end Raheem Brock in 2002. The Eagles never signed Brock and he went on to enjoy a successful career with the Colts and Seahawks.
This is one of the greatest situations ever, Jarrett said. Ive played in the Eagles stadium the last four years, so being able to play for coach Reid as an Eagle is a dream come true.
Jarrett said people who judge him by his 40 time arent getting the full picture of what sort of player he is.
Im going to bring physical, toughness and a smart player, he said. Im real disciplined, and coach Andy Reid likes disciplined guys who are going to go out there and do whatever it takes to help the team win, and thats what Im all about.
With Allen and Kurt Coleman, second- and seventh-round picks last year, and now Jarrett, the Eagles have three young safeties, and that likely means an overhaul of a position that Dawkins and Quintin Mikell held down for several years.
Dawkins is now with the Broncos, and Mikell who is unsigned would appear unlikely to return to Philadelphia, where he played from 2003 through 2010.
Reid is already talking about Jarrett as if hes a starter.
Jaiquawn made all the calls at Temple, did all the adjustments, hes got what I consider tremendous football knowledge and great retention and hes a naturally smart guy team captain, graduated, all those intangible things, Reid said.
But on the football field hes able to translate his smarts and make the adjustments that need to be made on that back end that are so crucial. So you use that term he never puts you in a bad position. And offenses in this league are crazy by formation, by motions, by shifts and you need a quarterback back there who can move you around a little bit and get you lined up and hes done that, hes done that well. Hes one of those guys youve got to kick out of the office because he wants to know everything, and we need that back there. ...
Hes one of those guys, you watch him play, he just jumps out at you. He just crushes people. And I know thats not the National Football League, but I expect him to transfer it to this level. Hes a big-time hitter.
Jarrett, who originally joined the Temple football team as a walk-on, became a starter by the middle of his freshman year and finished his college career with 43 starts in 49 games as the Owls turned around a dormant program. He had nine interceptions and this past year led the Owls with 79 tackles.
He said there was constant communication between himself and the Eagle coaches during the entire pre-draft period.
I did get an opportunity to see how the Eagles use their defense, Jarrett said. When I met with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and safeties coach Mike Zordich, they showed me how they use their safeties in their secondary and they were telling me that Id be a great fit.
The only knock on Jarrett is that lack of big-time speed. Hes considered a secure tackler, a willing blitzer and a capable run stopper.
If fans havent seen me play over the past four years, Im going to bring physical toughness and a smart player to the Eagles stadium, Jarrett said. Im real disciplined, and coach Reid loves those disciplined guys who are going to go out there and do whatevers necessary to help the team win. And thats what Im all about.
Jarrett whose first name is pronounced JAY-kwahn said the proximity between the Eagles complex and Temples campus, which is located three miles up Broad Street, gives him a comfort level with his new team.
It was a lot of communication, he said. Ive played there for four years (at Lincoln Financial Field) and I had the opportunity to meet the coaching staff when they came to the games. A lot of the former players on the Eagles came down and worked out with us and I got the opportunity to meet with coach Reid hed been coming down here to spring ball because his son is at Temple.
The Eagles have historically drafted their best defensive backs in the second round Bobby Taylor, Brian Dawkins, Sheldon Brown, Michael Lewis, Wes Hopkins and Eric Allen, in addition to Nate Allen last year.
In the last 30 years, theyve drafted six Pro Bowl defensive backs, and five of them came in the second round.
You get there in the second round and find a solid guy that you like, you go take care of business, Reid said. The safety position wasnt the deepest position on I dont think anybodys board, and we thought that Jaiquawn was just a tremendous football player, and that to me was just a slam dunk. You cant find a single negative thing about this kid.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org
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