Recently I was able to conduct an interview with LaDairis Jackson, the standout DE at Oregon St. LaDairis had a VERY good year, ranking 1st on the Beaver team with 12 sacks and 1st in tackles for loss with 21. He's been overshadowed by his linemate DeLawrence Grant, but beleive me, LaDairis is ready to show the scouts he's for real. Below is some info on LaDairis, followed by our interview.
Name: LaDairis Jackson
School: Oregon State
40 Time: 4.7
Draft Status: 4th-5th round projection.
My View: LaDairis is a very solid prospect. The problem is that most teams view him as a "tweener" player. Will he play DE or will he play OLB? He's got a tremendous amount of physical ability and I think that he's committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed at the NFL level. The question is where will he play?
Q: What kind of person will an NFL team get by drafting you?
L.J.: The NFL will get a team player with self-motivation and determination. I'm always focused on the task at hand and willing to learn different things. I'm always willing to learn and take advise from teammates and I'm a coachable person.
Q: What have you heard about your draft status?
L.J.: I've heard I'm projected 3rd to 5th round, but can get better if I do good at the NFL combine or the indiviual workouts.
Q: What are your plans after football is over?
L.J.: I'm going to take that time to spend with by family traveling. I will venture into the marketing and communication field and I always wanted to participate in some area of football like coaching little league or high school football.
Q: Rank your three playing strengths.
L.J.: Speed - I will rank on a scale of 1-10 a 10. Because I feel my quickness and strength is very important on the edge.
Stopping the run - 9
Pass rushing - 10
Q: Rank your playing weaknesses.
L.J.: I can't say I have alot of weaknesses, but one that would be my steps. I will rank that an 8 because sometimes if my steps are not right it will put me out of position on a run block. I watch films on my games to correct my mistakes and work on them harder.
Q: Describe what it was like playing on an 11-1 Oregon St. team that had never had success until you guys came to campus.
L.J.: It is a very good feeling and it is hard to describe the excitement I felt at the end. The team I was a part of believed in each other and the coaching staff. I told my mother when I chose OSU that I wanted to be apart of a team that was being rebuilt by a great coach and my mother said "I guess they know they got a new sheriff in town". OSU achieved what we worked hard for!
Q: Do you feel you've been overlooked by NFL scouts?
L.J.: Yes, I don't know if that has to do with not getting the publicity I should have because my playing stats show I can get the job done very well. I hope when it is all said and done they will see that I am ready for the NFL.
Q: Alot of teams I've spoken with view you as a "tweener" at DE. At 6'3", 259, do you think you can add the necassary weight to play DE or can you make the transition to OLB?
L.J.: Adding the necessary weight to play DE would be no problem. The good thing I like is that I have put weight on and I have not lost my quickness and speed. If I had to make a change to OLB I can without any problems and work hard at succeeding at that position.
Q: Are you mentally and physically prepared for the NFL style of play? What have you done to get ready for the transition?
L.J.: Mentally and physically I am ready because I train 6 days out of 7 and workout like it is my last. I have taken my workout to another level with a new trainer to help get me ready for the NFL. I know I am ready and I'm very excited.
Q: You had an OUTSTANDING Senior season in '00 with 12 sacks, 21 TFL, and an impressive performance in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. What more do you think you need to do in order to get the recognition you deserve?
L.J.: I hope I will get some publicity and I will be ready when the opportunity comes to take advantage of the moment.
M.G.: LaDairis, it was a pleasure. Good Luck in the NFL and beyond.
L.J.: Thanks for your time Matt.