2013 Free Agents of interest – Part 14 – Lawrence Jackson , DE/DT


Lawrence Jackson – DE: 6’ 4’’, 271 lbs, 27 y/o, 5th season, was drafted out of USC in the 1st round (28th overall) in the 2008 draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

Lawrence Jackson is a veteran player that came in the league as a first rounder and quite didn’t produce enough statistics for living up the expectation.

Still he was playing in a Detroit D-line that, a part 2012, was a fierce unit and in 2011 was one of the best in football. His sack statistics are saying less about him that what he really brings to the field.

2012 was not his best year in football and he amassed only 2,5 sacks together with a forced fumble, but the whole Detroit defense regressed a lot. Still these numbers could be a good leverage point for any team that wishes to pursue him without paying him big money, as the Broncos could.

I think that in the Broncos scheme, he could play a rotational role both at DE against the run and DT against the pass. He could be a depth addition in case Vickerson leaves for better FA offers.

His career stats in regular season games as week 17 of 2012: he started 24 games out of 69 regular season game he played in; amassed 141 total tackles (97 solo and 44 assisted), he recorded 19,5 sacks (2,5 in 2012), 3 pass deflections and 4 forced fumbles.

Why the broncos would be interested:

  • The Broncos will be set for players that want to prove themselves or veterans that want another chance to play in the super bowl. Jackson case applies to the first category IMO, he’s still young at 27 and has played five years in the league. Still he was not able to gain a start for the Lions and when with the Seahawks never produced as much as he was tough to do, even if at the end he was pushed to play in a different role than pure pass rusher. Still he has plenty to prove if he wants to play for other five years in the league so getting in a right environment and having a brand new opportunity could be his best chance. Denver is exactly this kind of place.
  • For what I wrote up here, he could easily chose to play in a better environment for a lesser offer, let’s say a 1 or 2 year deal worth between 1,5 to 2,5 M. That could be the price target Denver has for bringing in some vets to improve competition in training camp and overall team depth.
  • He remembers me of Robert Ayers in so many ways; Robert Ayers will be a free agent in 2014, together with Beadles, Walton, Woodyard, Decker, Carter and Moreno. I guess some of these guys won’t be back.
  • His body frame could let him add some weight and power, letting him being a quite natural replacement for Vickerson as pass rusher DT in clear passing situation. Denver looks to love this kind of versatility on the offensive line.

Why the Broncos could not pursuing him:

  • The Broncos have in Ayers a similar kind of player with a similar track in the league. Having two of the same could be not what they are looking for.
  • He’s still young at 27 and there are lots of teams desperate for improving their pass rush. He could be less cheap than what his stats would indicate if a global bid is raising for pass rushers.
  • Detroit could be more willing to bring him back since Avril and Van der Bosch are both hitting free agency as well. Detroit cannot afford to lose all three of their primarily edge rushers and he could be the cheapest of the three.
  • There are quite some players in the 2013 draft that looks to have the abilities to play DE and DT in pass situation (Detone Jones at the end of the 1st round could be an example, Mike Catapano in the middle-later rounds, John Simon in the second day to name a few); Could be easier and cheaper for the Broncos to add competition through the Draft, since the cap room won’t be really big after Clady will be tagged or re-signed.

Resume:

Lawrence Jackson could bring experience, nastiness and will to rebuild his career at a higher standard. He could be a versatile D-line player for the Broncos and could be willing to sign a low money contract for a good organization as the Broncos are. He could take Vickerson place in the nickel scheme, a defensive formation that the Broncos predominantly used in 2012, where Denver could use 3 D-lineman in Wolfe, Ayers and Jackson plus Dumervil in a more lateral position and Miller as pass rushing LB. It will look pretty scary, isn’t it?

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