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Player Spotlight: Vincent Jackson

A detailed look at Vincent Jackson's fantasy prospects for 2013

Setting the Stage

Vincent Jackson was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO with both parents in the military. He was raised with structure and discipline and attended Widefield High School in Colorado Springs. Jackson excelled in the classroom and also playing football and basketball.  He was not highly recruited out of high school, but finished with a 4.1 gpa and turned down his acceptance to Columbia to accept a football and basketball offer from Northern Colorado, where he became their all-time leading receiver. In his final two seasons there, he caught 146 passes for 2,844 yards (19.5 ypc) and scored 32 TDs.

Jackson attended the NFL Combine and posted an impressive 4.46 forty-yard dash time, considering that he was measured at 6-foot 4 ¾ inches and weighing 241. He also had a 10-foot 9 inch broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. Despite his amazing production and solid combine numbers, he remained a little under the radar. He was considered the 14th best wide receiver by NFL Draft Scout.

He was drafted in the second round (61st overall) by the Chargers as the 11th wide receiver. Among the group drafted ahead of him in 2005, Roddy White (27th overall) and Braylon Edwards (3rd overall) are the only two with more catches than Jackson, but Jackson has more yards and TDs than Edwards.

Jackson started slowly for the Chargers, only playing in 7 games as a rookie and recording 3 receptions for 59 yards. He gradually improved in his 2nd and 3rd seasons, but did not top 1,000 receiving yards until his 4th season in 2008. That year was the first time that a Charger receiver had recorded 1,000 yards receiving since 2001. He has subsequently remained over 1,000 yards every year except 2010, when he was suspended for three games for violating the NFL’s conduct policy.  Jackson also held out that season in a contract dispute with A. J. Smith and the Chargers and did not play until week 11. The Chargers placed the franchise tag on Jackson in February and he decided to sign the one-year tender and return to the team after the lockout ended. He was paid over $11 Million for 2010, approximately twenty times what he received the year before.

Prior to the 2012 NFL season, Jackson signed a five-year $55.55 Million Contract with Tampa Bay. He played very well for his new team and seems to be a perfect fit. He established The Jackson in Action foundation to support military families, primarily assisting deployed families dealing with the emotional, physical, and educational challenges for their children.

His career stats are provided below.

Year Team Gms Rush Yds ypc TDs Targ Rec Yds ypr TDs
2005 SD 7 0 0 0.0 0 8 3 59 19.7 0
2006 SD 16 3 16 5.3 0 56 27 453 16.8 6
2007 SD 16 0 0 0.0 0 80 41 623 15.2 3
2008 SD 16 4 69 17.2 0 101 59 1,098 18.6 7
2009 SD 15 3 11 3.7 0 107 68 1,167 17.2 9
2010 SD 5 1 14 14.0 0 24 14 248 17.7 3
2011 SD 16 3 51 17.0 0 114 60 1,106 18.4 9
2012 TB 16 0 0 0.0 0 147 72 1,384 19.2 8
Totals   107 14 161 11.5 0 637 344 6,138 17.8 45

Looking Forward to 2013

Coach Greg Schiano moved from coaching at Rutgers to Tampa Bay a year ago and is known as a defensive minded coach. His entire coaching history prior to accepting the head coaching position at Rutgers was on the defensive side. His offensive philosophy has been labeled old-school. While at Rutgers, he resisted the widespread move to a spread offense and ran a pro-style attack. A year ago, he announced that his team would run the ball and then run some more. However, a closer look at the reality of the Tampa Bay offense was that the team actually fell into the predominant NFL offensive philosophy, passing the ball. They ranked 14th in passing plays for the season and they passed the ball slightly over 60% of their plays.

The offensive line was good in 2012 and should be better this year. Left Guard Carl Nicks missed several games at the end of last year and Right Guard Davin Joseph was placed on IR in the pre-season. The team will have both of these guys returning. They also have good depth that allows them to sustain solid play even with some injuries.

The biggest change for the Buccaneer offense might be the shift in tight ends. Luke Stocker will be starting this year, replacing Dallas Clark. Stocker has 28 receptions thus far in his two NFL seasons, while Clark had 47 a year ago and 474 over his career. There could be additional wide receiver targets in 2013, as Stocker is not considered a weapon, even if the team’s number of pass attempts remains the same. Consider the team's targets from last season.

Player Targets Tgt/Gm Rec Yds ypc TDs Rec %
V. Jackson 147 9.2 72 1,384 19.2 8 49
M. Williams 126 7.9 63 996 15.8 9 50
D. Clark 75 4.7 47 435 9.3 4 63
D. Martin 70 4.4 49 472 9.6 1 70
T. Underwood 55 3.9 28 425 15.2 2 50
L. Stocker 27 1.7 16 165 10.3 1 59

Doug Martin was definitely the bell-cow running back for the Buccaneers a year ago as he had 319 carries and the second running back was LeGarrette Blount with 41. Blount is gone, but the team has several depth players with Michael Smith, (2012 – 7th round) Mike James (2013 – 6th round), Brian Leonard (one year $785 k contract), and Peyton Hillis (one year contract). The recent success, or lack thereof for this group of backs supports the thought that the team will pass more often in 2013. The best expectation is that one or possibly two of them will provide short-term breathers for Martin and that the offense will remain much like a year ago.

Regarding Vincent Jackson, there have been reports that the team will line him up at various spots on the field, including the slot to challenge the defense to make adjustments for Jackson. The writing is on the wall for Jackson to be even more involved in the offense and he could get more targets than a year ago when he finished as WR6 in non-ppr scoring leagues.

Positives

  • Jackson has been a solid red-zone option, scoring 9 TDs in 2012 and 8 TDs last year
  • He averaged an NFL leading 19.2 ypc in 2012, demonstrating his speed and ability to get deep
  • He will be lining up at various places, including the slot indicating that he will be featured more often, possibly increasing his 147 targets from 2012 which was his career high

Negatives

  • Coach Schiano’s stated philosophy is to run the ball and run some more, so if one of the multiple back-up players provides more production than expected, they might throw less 
  • Josh Freeman’s high turnover rate suggests that he might be on a short leash and a replacement quarterback would negatively impact the passing production

Projections

  Gms Rush Yds ypc TDs Rec Yds ypr TDs
David Dodds 16 0 0 0.0 0 79 1,264 16.0 8

Bob Henry

15 0 0 0.0 0 74 1,330 18.0 8
Jason Wood 16 0 0 0.0 0 77 1,350 17.5 8
Maurile Tremblay 16 0 0 0.0 0 73

1,187

16.3 7
Stephen Holloway 16 1 12 12.0 0 82 1,312 16.0 9

Final Thoughts

Jackson has a current ADP of WR12 and 37 overall. A year ago, he finished as WR6 in non-ppr leagues and an increase in targets and receptions this year seems plausible. A year ago, he had 147 and 72. Vincent Jackson seems like a solid opportunity to provide value over where he will be drafted this year, particularly if Josh Freeman performs well in the pre-season and early games.

Other Viewpoints

Vincent Jackson’s versatility from RotoWorld player page http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/3202/vincent-jackson

Coach Greg Schiano reiterated the Bucs are increasing Vincent Jackson's versatility in order to get him open more. The Bucs aren't interested in using V-Jax to draw double teams and open up the field for others. They want to feed him the rock. "He’ll line up anywhere, from next to the tackle all the way out to No. 1 receiver, and everything between," said Schiano. "That makes it hard to be able to [cover], if the defense is trying to take him out of the game."

Jenny Vrentas provides Vincent Jackson’s thoughts on mmqb.si.com http://mmqb.si.com/2013/07/26/vincent-jackson-tampa-bay-buccaneers-10-things/

1. I think Josh Freeman is the quarterback who can take the Buccaneers to the next level. This is his second year in this system, and you can see his comfort level and grasp of the moving parts. With less to think about, he’s able to go out there and just use his physical tools, which are very good.

2. I think even though Greg Schiano has the reputation of being a no-nonsense, nose-to-the-grindstone coach, I’d call him a players’ coach. He wants to know everything about all his players, and he treats the team like a big family. I know if I ever need anything, no matter what it is, he’d be there in a heartbeat.

Jason Wood on is player comments

Vincent Jackson quieted the skeptics who wondered whether he would be a free agent bust in Tampa Bay. He not only delivered on his contract, but was unstoppable in spite of erratic (at times) quarterback play. Jackson has the size of an NFL tight end, but the speed of a sprinter. That’s a tough combination to keep down for opposing defensive coordinators.


More from Steve Holloway:

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Player Spotlight: Julio Jones - July 16
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Player Spotlight: Brandon Marshall - August 3
Player Spotlight: Ryan Mathews - July 31
Player Spotlight: A. J. Green - July 28
Player Spotlight: Andre Johnson - July 24
Player Spotlight: Brandon Myers - July 23
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