There are only four defensive tackles participating in training camp right now because of Trevor Laws' hamstring injury - I'm not counting Darren Howard who can slide inside on pass rush situations. That means the second- and third-team tandem of Dan Klecko and Jervonte Jackson are getting a lot of reps. We know that Klecko is a scrappy, quick tackle who plays low with good speed and can slip inside to get the quarterback. He had a career-high 2.0 sacks before he was moved to fullback midseason in 2008.
But Jackson is one of the under-the-radar storylines of camp thus far. A rookie free agent signing out of Florida Atlantic and the younger brother of center Jamaal, Jervonte Jackson is not going to complain about the extra work he's received in training camp. Unlike other rookies, Jervonte is getting a lion's share of quality time to develop and impress the coaches.
"If you're going to give me reps, I want it," Jackson said. "I'm going to take full advantage of them, of every situation I get. I'm not the type of guy to say, 'Hey, I'm getting too many reps.' I'm going to take these reps and smile. I'm happy with what I'm getting. I'm happy about this situation."
In team drills, he doesn't get pushed upfield. Whether he gets his man or not, Jackson finds a way to stay involved in the play. In one-on-one drills against the offensive linemen, he shows tremendous power, strong hands and good placement. He said that new defensive line coach Rory Segrest emphasizes technique to maximize his speed, quickness and size.
The one thing he has not done yet is beat his older brother.
"It's kind exciting going against my brother for the first time ever," Jackson said about Jamaal. "This guy here is top notch. If I beat him, you know. I haven't beat him yet. I'm working on it."
And just like Jamaal, Jervonte slipped through the cracks of the draft process. Jackson said that it was the school he went to and the competition he played against. But now, he's got an opportunity and he wants to make the most of it.
"I'm just happy to be here," Jackson said. "No matter how I got here. I'm going to take advantage of each and every situation I get."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:35 p.m., August 1