Jake is a multi-talented linebacker who can play more than one linebacker positions in various defensive schemes. He has excellent size, strength, speed; he has the agility and change of direction skills to stay on the field and cover tight ends and receivers on third down. He is very smart and is stout against the run, more so when playing on the outside than on the inside. He has the agility, speed and burst to be used in blitz packages and stunts at the line of scrimmage. Jake demonstrates top-notch leadership skills and makes the players around him better. He might be the fastest and most agile of the more traditional linebackers who play in 4-3 defenses and, when it's all said and done, could wind up being the best. Jake reminds me a lot of Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys and like Sean, Jake will have to find a way to stay away from injuries to impact because his talents suggest he will be an impact linebacker for the team that drafts him.
Jake does struggle against the run when he plays inside because he has a tendency to run around blocks. When he plays outside, this is not a problem and he meets his blocks, sheds them and makes tackles at the line of scrimmage. This year Jake got hurt and that issue will have to be addressed at his workouts and the combine, but overall, this kid is an excellent football player.
Jake's draft status will be affected because he is more of a traditional outside linebacker for a 4-3 defense. He can rush the passer and might very well be a linebacker for a 3-4 defense, but I think most teams will project him as a OLB for a 4-3 defense. Here is the catch: Jake could be a terrific middle linebacker for the brutal Tampa 2 defenses that insist on the MLB running 40 yards backwards at the snap of the ball to cover the middle of the field deep. Jake is what I call an excellent "on the move" type of linebacker. By that I mean, on the snap of the ball, Jake is doing something specific on the field so that offenses have to react to him and not the other way around. At times this will make it look like he is running himself out of the play when in fact most of the time an offense has called an audible for the play to run away from Jake. What really impresses me about Jake is his ability to cover and play multiple positions and not just attack the line of scrimmage. This creates problems for offenses to game plan for him. Right now, Jake is your sleeper linebacker in this draft for two reasons: he got hurt and has been out for a period of time and he plays for Iowa St. Most NFL teams do not rate the competition that Iowa St plays against every year to be top notch. For me personally, I think that's a lot of B.S.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart