UCLA linebacker Myles Jack tore the meniscus in his knee in September and was lost for the season.
It was a big blow for the Bruins, who had been counting on Jack – one of college football’s best linebackers – to lead a strong defense in the 2015 season.
Jack is such a terrific athlete that the Bruins had used him at both running back and linebacker during his UCLA career. In just three games before his injury this past season, Jack – who had been second-team, all-Pac-12 in 2014 – had 15 tackles, an interception and a rushing touchdown for UCLA, which was undefeated at that point.
Now Jack is considered one of the best defensive players available in the draft, and the 49ers – who have the seventh overall choice – appear very interested.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that several members of the 49ers were on hand in Los Angeles Tuesday for Jack’s pro-day workout, including general manager Trent Baalke, outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver and scout Reggie Cobb.
Barrows noted that Jack had been cleared for full workouts just a few weeks ago, after surgery and rehab following his September injury. Such injuries never have dissuaded Baalke; he’s often drafted high-profile college players coming off knee surgery.
Jack didn’t run the 40-yard dash in this workout, or any other running drills, Barrows reported. He’s expected to have another workout for NFL teams in April, before the draft.
Jack, an inside linebacker, will be a high draft pick despite his injury.
Former NFL scout Bucky Brooks, now with NFL.com, has the 49ers taking Jack, who is 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, with their top pick in his latest mock draft. Wrote Brooks: “After suffering through a mass exodus of playmakers at linebacker, the 49ers grab a sideline-to-sideline menace with exceptional speed, quickness and instincts.”
Former NFL wide receiver and current network TV analyst Cris Collinsworth Wednesday morning posted his mock draft on the Pro Football Focus website, and has Jack going to the Baltimore Ravens with the sixth pick. He cites Jack’s ability to cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage as a huge plus, and his “sideline-to-sideline speed” as an asset for any defense.
“Jack brings a heavy punch to hits,” Collinsworth wrote. “He flies to holes like a running back, with great anticipation.”