Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat recorded 13 sacks and a team-leading 86 tackles in 2013, good enough to be named Big 12 defensive player of the year.
Yet, he wasn’t deemed worthy enough for a coveted invitation to the Senior Bowl last month.
Jeffcoat said the slight has only fueled his motivation in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine and the May draft.
“Not getting invited to the Senior Bowl has definitely added fuel to my fire,” Jeffcoat, a Plano West grad, said. “I used it as motivation. I worked my butt off and kept grinding.”
As the son of former Cowboys defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, Jackson said he would love to follow in his father’s footsteps and play for his hometown team.
The Cowboys seek help along the defensive line, especially pass rushers.
But Jeffcoat is being looked at more as a 3-4 linebacker than at end, which is what he would play in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. The Cowboys have made no contact with him so far at the combine, he said.
“I don’t mind playing either,” Jeffcoat said of the 3-4 or the 4-3. “I just want to play. I can give you speed, and I can surprise guys with some power. I have strength in my lower body and arms. I can get underneath a guy and use my leverage. I feel like I’m a guy that would be a positive influence in the locker room, because I get along with guys well. So there won’t be any problems with that or off-the-field problems.”
Davis sends message
Texas receiver Mike Davis met with the Cowboys on Friday night. He left them with a message.
Davis said he told the team’s coaches and scouts to please tell “Jerry Jones to take me.”
Davis, a Dallas native who played at Skyline High School, said he would love to play for anybody in the NFL. But his dream always was to play for his hometown team.
He already has a good relationship with Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant through his uncle, David Wells, who is Bryant’s adviser. Davis said Bryant has given him advice on how to attack the draft process.
He also said he’s learned from Bryant and how Bryant handled his off-the-field issues and controversies early in his NFL career.
“I think Dez is a great person,” Davis said. “Sometimes he can get it mixed up, but he’s a great person. The stuff he did, what he overcame is really crazy, but at the end of the day, he works hard. He got better; he got a whole lot better. He’s not in the media like that anymore [for off-the-field issues], and he’s got a great head on his shoulders.”
Davis pointed out that one of the positives he brings to the table for prospective NFL teams is that he doesn’t carry baggage. He thought about entering the draft last year but said returning for his senior year allowed him to mature as a person and player.
“It’s a blessing,” Davis said. “I mean, the way I grew up — with a single parent — we didn’t have nothing. Getting to come up through the university and get to this point without anything bad in the media from me or getting into any trouble, it’s a great deal.”
Slur penalty discussed
The NFL is mulling a 15-yard penalty for onfield use of the N-word.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed as much at the combine. He said the move was borne out a request from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advised the NFL and its players to ban the racial slur in November.
“We find out what are the unintended consequences, not just the consequences,” Newsome said of the committee discussions. “As it was stated in our meeting, there are [microphones] everywhere. So if something is being said it’s probably going to be captured somewhere. So we’ll get an opportunity to get it verified if we have to.”
Not only will the use of the word constitute a 15-yard penalty, it would come with an automatic ejection if used twice.
Newsome said the competition committee could present a proposal to owners at the spring meetings in Orlando, Fla., next month.
The move to root out racial slurs comes at a time when the NFL is dealing with the fallout of the Jonathan Martin harassment scandal and the possibility of welcoming its first openly gay player in Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.
Staff writer Charean Williams contributed to this report.