04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Jaguars picks: Round 7/228 - Jeris Pendleton, DT, 6-2, 328, Ashland (Ohio) U...A bit of a gamble in that Pendleton is 28 years old and played two seasons at a junior college before finishing his career with two years at Ashland. At one point was set to enroll at Michigan State but family matters led him to the JC route. He came to Jacksonville in a pre-draft visit and the team liked what they saw. - The Sports Xchange
Pendleton was barely a blip on the NFL radar as he closed out his Ashland career with 49 tackles in 2011 to go along with five sacks.
He didn't garner any significant postseason honors and wasn't invited to the scouting combine. He did work out at Northwestern's March 8 pro day, and took advantage of having the eyes of NFL scouts, running a 4.98-second 40-yard dash and benching 225 pounds 31 times. He also had a 30-inch vertical jump.
Pendleton enters the NFL at 27 years old. After graduating high school in 2002 coming out of the south side of Chicago, he took a job at a nursing home, working for 2 1/2 years before spending another year and a half at a construction job and then some other odd jobs.
With two children, Pendleton decided to pursue junior college in 2008 and give football a try at 24 years old. An Ashland assistant coach discovered Pendleton, who arrived at Ashland in 2010.
""It's always in perspective for him," Eagles defensive line coach Jerome Riase told The Collegian of Ashland University . "He's never too up; he's never too down, because he's actually been through life. I don't care if we're 0-10; he'll realize that he's having a great opportunity by the fact that he's just not living life right now. College is kind of a reprieve from everyday living."
Nine years older than some of his teammates, Pendleton brought life experience to the locker room.
"You don't realize that he's 27 that often," Riase said. "He's got a young spirit, but he almost just sounds like an elder statesman."
With Pendleton focused on football and school, his wife often leaned on the coaches' wives and friends to help watch the children while she worked.
"There's so much love down here," Pendleton said. "It's an uplifting spirit down here. I never thought I'd be in a small townlike this but it's been quite an experience. It's been a good experience though. Ashland's been very good to me."
Positives: Possesses a legitimate NFL frame with a squatty, powerful build conducive to plugging gaps on the interior of the defensive line. Flashes a quick burst off the snap. Good upper body strength to rock his opponent back onto his heels. Has the potential to be a significant anchor in the middle due to his thick lower half. Surprisingly light on his feet. Shows some lateral agility to adjust to moving targets and uses his long, strong arms to latch on and drag down ball-carriers at this level. Flashes a high-revving motor and shows good pursuit to the sidelines and even downfield. Good closing speed for a man of his size and flashes explosiveness as a hitter. Mature player who experienced life outside of football and may be willing to put in the extra work necessary to take advantage if given the opportunity.
Negatives: Enters the NFL at 28 years-old and has obvious level of competition questions. Was literally a man amongst boys at this level and was able to get away with simply overpowering them. Very raw in his technique. Comes off the ball too high and negates his own strength -- a weakness in technique that will quickly be taken advantage of by NFL competition. Despite good overall athleticis, offers little in terms of pass rushing skills at this time. Doesn't know how to use his hands to keep blockers off his numbers and is susceptible to cut blocks. Only average awareness at this time of screens and misdirection. By the time he begins to learn how to play football at the NFL level, he may be on the downside of his physical ability...