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2016 NFL DRAFT

Jackson hopes added weight helps shed 'tweener label at Tennessee Pro Day

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
The Peyton Manning Watch had taken over much of the state of Tennessee this week but it was 10 "other" former Volunteers who drew 21 scouts to the UT campus Friday for the team's Pro Day.

Combine-invitees Malik Jackson (DL) and Tauren Poole (RB) generated most of the attention.

Jackon, who earned First Team All-SEC honors last year as a 267 pound defensive tackle, weighed in even heavier Friday than he had at the Combine. The 6-5 Jackson weighed in at 284 pounds in Indianapolis a few weeks ago but added six pounds since. Despite the added bulk, according to a source at the workout, Jackson showed good athleticism in defensive line drills run by a member of the New Orleans Saints. Jackson showed fair strength at the Combine by posting 25 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Jackson transferred to Tennessee after originally signing with Southern California out of high school. He played closer to 250 pounds while with the Trojans and had to bulk up just to see playing time at defensive end. The fact that he's steadily improved while adding weight and appears to have the frame even more mass is sure to intrigue scouts. Some believe that because of his height and relatively long arms (33 3/4") he's a natural candidate as a developmental 3-4 defensive end.

Poole also had a strong positional workout, demonstrating natural cutting ability and soft hands out of the backfield -- two areas in which scouts had some concerns.

One player who helped show off his versatility Friday was linebacker/fullback Austin Johnson. Johnson led the Vols with 81 tackles in 2011 while playing inside linebacker. The 6-2, 240 pound Johnson had previously played fullback for Tennessee, however, and took part in drills at both positions Friday, showing off better all-around athleticism and versatility than many had previously given him credit for possessing.
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