Asa Jacksons best mark at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month was not his sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash time.
Nor was it the former Cal Poly football cornerbacks impressive 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press which showed his 190-pound frame packaged plenty of strength with that speed.
He looks thicker right now than he did during the season, Mustangs head coach Tim Walsh said. So, to still be able to run like he can and change directions like he can is a good testament to his athletic ability at that position.
As Jackson gets ready for the Cal Poly pro day later this month, the Sacramento Christian Brothers High graduate can train easy in his pre-draft home in Arizona knowing the potentially biggest knock about him was settled in one of the less active tests.
Jackson was measured at 5 feet, 10 inches tall.
A lot of the scouts I talked to out there, they said, Wow, we were just hoping that you werent 5-6 or 5-7, Jackson said. They were happy to see that I was 5-10.
Just like some 40 times can be considered less reliable, height can be slightly exaggerated when it comes to official collegiate rosters.
An FCS All-American and four-time All-Great West Conference honoree tucked into the geographic isolation provided in San Luis Obispo, Jackson had to show his height was no exaggeration.
At 5-10, Jackson might not have ideal size, but hed have no problem fitting in around the league.
Though he and several other former Cal Poly players including slotback Mark Rodgers, offensive tackle Scott Winnewisser and defensive end Gavin Cooper will still have the opportunity to perform in front of scouts at Cal Poly on March 27, Jackson is already certain hell fit in somewhere.
Jacksons overall grade of 70.5 at the scouting combine translates to him being a middle-round pick. Several online and print publications have tabbed him with that projection as well.
That could mean a selection anywhere in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh and final round. Walsh has always contended that his top prospect has the talent to be taken in the same round as former teammate and other former Mustangs Ramses Barden, Chris Gocong and Jordan Beck, who were all gone in the third.
Ive been hearing middle rounds, Jackson said. I dont know exactly what that means. I just want to get drafted and get an opportunity to play. I just want that opportunity.
One of 325 players invited to the scouting combine, Jackson said he informally met with representatives from all 32 NFL teams. He had official 15-minute in-depth interviews with four other teams he preferred not to name.
He did say a portion of the interviews was spent watching film with team executives, the good plays and the bad.
Its a little intimidating because you sit in front of eight people that have the money to decide your future in a couple months, answering a whole bunch of football questions, he said.
Coming off a season in which he was hampered by a late foot injury, Jackson also had to answer plenty of health questions.
Jackson only missed one full game with a broken sesamoid bone in his foot and a case of turf toe and says he is back to 100 percent, but he did spend 31⁄2 hours in the hospital at the combine taking tests to prove his durability.
Jackson also said his time with doctors was abbreviated compared with his peers, some of which spent twice as long getting checked out.
In comparison, though slower than the 4.40 time he ran at Cal Polys junior scouting day last spring, Jackson said his 40 time at the combine wasnt very highly scrutinized.
He was slightly disappointed that the times were nearly one tenth of a second apart, but he can rectify those feelings with a better mark at the upcoming Mustangs pro day.
Jackson will be the main attraction, but there will be several others who could be looking to have a professional career.
All-conference fullback and team MVP Jake Romanelli will likely be passed up in the draft, but the Templeton High graduate might still have an opportunity to be the Eagles first NFL player.
Walsh said safety Greg Francis should test well, and long-snappers Troy Shotwell and Joe Brum are close to NFL quality snap times.
All of the above could benefit in the same way former Cal Poly linebacking great, the late Mel Kaufman, did.
Kaufman went on to be a part of two Super Bowl winning Washington Redskins teams after scouts initially discovered him while in San Luis Obispo to run a pro day for star Cal Poly running back Louis Jackson in the early 1980s.
Walsh believes the 5-foot-8 Rodgers, with more exposure, could fit into the right pro system as a third-down back or slot receiver.
I can see him play for the right team, Walsh said. Are they going to think that? They may not because of his size. But hes going to run an extraordinary 40 time.