Carolina Panthers 2012 Draft: The Case For Another "Ace"

Over the past five weeks, the Panthers scouting department has traveled to a slew of pro days all across America in an effort to determine where some of their most valued targets belong on their draft board, and, as most of you know, I've been following them closely for much of that journey. Today, we'll take a quick trip over to the left coast to see who made the Panthers' must-see list this time.

Cal Poly doesn't usually get very much attention when it comes to producing NFL talent, but they just so happen to have a cornerback by the name of Asa "Ace" Jackson who will likely be drafted in the fifth or sixth round. In fact, Jackson's stellar four-year career was enough to earn him an invite to both the Senior Bowl(where he started for the West) and the NFL Combine. Join me after the jump to see why Jackson is in contention to become one of the Panthers draft picks in a couple of weeks.

Jackson certainly isn't afraid to lay it all out there for everyone to see. Not only did he perform at the NFL Combine, but he also worked out at Hawaii's pro day in front of representatives from almost every NFL team. As you would expect, Jackson completed his round of workouts when he ran through drills in front of scouts from six different teams(including the Panthers) one last time at Cal Poly's pro day.

For those of you who are obsessed with size, this isn't your guy. However, Jackson makes up for his lack of size with excellent speed and strength. His 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone times are particularly impressive to me because they indicate an elite level of agility, coordination, and lateral quickness, which are obviously necessary when covering the upper crust of NFL wide receivers. Jackson's 37.5 inch vertical is certainly worth mentioning, but perhaps his 19 repetitions on the bench press deserves most of the attention. It's very uncommon to find any prospect who can put up that many reps at 191 lbs.

By The Numbers

Height Weight Forty Vert BP BJ 10 yrd 20 yrd 20 yrd shuttle 3 Cone
5' 10" 191 4.47 37.5 19 9' 10" 1.58 2.61 4.03 6.97

Career Defensive Stats

Year Solo Ast Total TFL Sacks INT PD FF
2008 35 7 42 1 0 2 12 3
2009 31 17 48 3 0 2 8 0
2010 40 15 55 1 1 2 11 0
2011 31 23 54 0.5 0 2 9 0

Career Punt Return Stats

Year No. Yrds Ave Long
2009 13 201 15.5 59
2010 17 214 12.6 37
2011 8 144 18 41

Of course, numbers are one thing, but the film can tell a completely different story. But, for Jackson, this isn't the case. When I watched the videos below, I was struck by how well Jackson plays in zone coverage concepts. The fact that he tracks the ball well and displays above-average instincts also stood out. When you combine these attributes with his smooth hips and solid backpedal, it's easy to understand why the Panthers have shown Jackson some attention. Personally, I like Jackson enough to pick him in the 6th round. What about you, CSR? Let me know what you think in the poll below.

I decided to throw in this video of RB/WR Mark Rodgers who is also a graduating senior from Cal Poly. You can obviously see his 4.49 speed shining throughout this entertaining video. Enjoy.

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