Philadelphia Eagles Should Consider Defensive Tackle Jerrod Black
NFL Defensive Tackle Jerrod Black – Mandatory Photo Credit Matt Thornton
Former Iowa State University defensive tackle and rookie free agent Jerrod Black chatted with NFL writer Matt Thornton about his rookie free agent eligibility, what he could bring to the Philadelphia Eagles, and finally his experience playing along a 3-4 defensive line. Check out the full transcript of the interview here.
Matt Thornton: Give me some of your measurable? What’s your height/weight? What is your 40 yard dash time? How many reps can you bench at 225? What is your best vertical jump? How far can you broad jump? What’s your time for the three-cone drill? What’s your time for the 20 yard shuttle?
Jerrod Black: My height and weight are 6’1” 315 lbs. I ran my 40-yard dash low at 5.0 and my high at 5.17. I repped 225 32 times, my vertical was 30” and my broad jump was 8’9”. My three-cone drill time was 7.58, and my 20 yard shuttle was 4.53 low and 4.6 high.
Matt Thornton: I know you graduated from Cypress Falls high school in 2007 and were a blue chip recruit who attended Iowa State. What was the last year you played college football?
Jerrod Black: My last year of playing college football was the 2011-2012 season at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA.
Matt Thornton: What have you been keeping busy with the past year?
Jerrod Black: In 2012-2013, after I had my pro day for the draft, I signed with a bigger named agent and I believed I was going to go to the Saints, but it ended up not happening. So, to get more film and to get more of what the coach’s wanted to see on record, I decided to go to Green Bay and play for the Green Bay Blizzard (Indoor Football League) which was sort of a farm team for the Green Bay Packers. I went to Green Bay, and was starting, and everything was great, but then I had an injury to my ACL right before the season started. I was actually going to get signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but with the injury I needed to go through the long rehab, and spent the summer in Minnesota rehabbing. Then when I felt like my leg was healthy again, I went down to Dallas and have been working out here at 4th and Inches Sports Performance with a bunch of ex Dallas Cowboys like Noel Scarlett and Willie Pile.
Matt Thornton: You started at Iowa State and then ended at Southeastern Louisiana University. Why did you make that transition and how was it?
Jerrod Black: I red-shirted and then graduated early from Iowa State. I then went on to pursue my masters degree at Southeastern Louisiana. I also thought it was prudent to transfer because Iowa State changed defenses when they changed coaches. I was more of a nose/three tech, more of a power guy, and coach was looking for a 6’4” finesse guy, which I just wasn’t that guy. They brought in their new recruits and I just went ahead and graduated and moved on.
Matt Thornton: Tell me a little about 4th and Inches Sports Performance and who you’ve been working out with?
Jerrod Black: 4th and Inches Sports Performance was originally started as a lineman facility. They added Coach Willie Pile to work more with DB’s and WR’s. But, basically, it’s a great lineman facility. Noel Scarlett does a great job of explaining the game and working on mechanics. They also help you with pass rush and playing the run. Noel uses his football knowledge and what he did playing in the league, and uses that to help us out. I’ve learned so much and hear the stories about when he played with the Cowboys. They also have a number of NFL guys who cycle through there and that is helpful to guys like me as well to interact with them and hear from them. I’m trying to be a sponge and learn from them. Some months ago, as a matter of fact, they brought in Greg Ellis to talk to and work with us on our pass rush, and that was huge. Just being able to learn from a pro like Greg was outstanding. It’s a great place for me personally, because it’s a lineman specific facility, and getting knowledge from Noel and all those guys is great.
Matt Thornton: What makes you a special player in your mind? What are the unique attributes and skill sets you would bring to an NFL team?
Jerrod Black: I’ve been told that I have a great “get-off” the line of scrimmage. I have great power, as I bench 475 pounds that also works to my advantage. I’m also very knowledgeable of the game, I’m coachable, and I’m always around the ball. I also love playing the pass, but I enjoy playing the run as well. I am more comfortable playing the run because I think I’m better at it. As a nose tackle, I love getting into the gaps and really busting up the middle. I really consider myself a blue-collar worker. Going to the Indoor Football League to get more experience, then going through the year of rehab, I’ve never shied away from hard work. I just put my head down and keep grinding away and working. I’m ready to go, to say “I’m ready to go” is an understatement.
Matt Thornton: Do you believe you’re a better fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, and why?
Jerrod Black: To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me. I love playing 4-3, but being on top of the center in a 3-4 is fine as well. I’ve learned and played both, so I can do either. At Iowa State, 4-3 was our base defense, but we would switch to a 3-4 with certain teams. You really have to be versatile in the league, and I believe I am.
Matt Thornton: How much 0 technique have you played in your career?
Jerrod Black: I’ve played a lot of zero technique. I’ve watched a lot of film too, so I think I can play the zero technique especially well.
Matt Thornton: As follow-up to the defensive scheme question, do you consider yourself more of a 1 technique run-stuffer or 3 technique with some pass rushing tendencies, and why?
Jerrod Black: I can honestly do both. As a run stopper, I love to get in and fill the gaps since I like to play with power. But if I need to move over and play in the three I’ve got moves and techniques which will help me get a good pass rush from the three spot or turn it back in, whatever they need me to do.
Matt Thornton: Who do you consider to be the best offensive lineman you’ve ever played against?
Jerrod Black: The best guy I’ve ever played against was starting left tackle Nate Solder from the Patriots. He played at the University of Colorado and he was a beast.
Matt Thornton: Who do you compare yourself to in the NFL today?
Jerrod Black: That’s funny you ask, because everyone at the 4th and Inches facility calls me “Baby Wilfork” (New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork). I like to model my game after him. My father was a guard in high school and college, and he played with (former Pittsburgh Steeler nose tackle) Casey “Big Snack” Hampton, Jr. so I’ve watched his game my whole life too, and like to play like him. I study those big guys in the middle the most.
Matt Thornton: I realize you’ve played college football and then pros with the Indoor Football League in Wisconsin. Do you feel you can make the transition and play at the speed of the NFL?
Jerrod Black: I feel like I would do extremely well. I think going through all my rehab and now training at 4th and Inches with all of these professional players has really helped me out. Working with these pros has taught me to make my step quicker, helped my technique, and pushed me to play faster. We do drills all the time where they force us to go faster. The 4th and Inches folks have really helped me adapt already to some of the speed of the NFL. I realize I need to experience it myself, but I think I have worked hard and am prepared as I can be to make that transition to the NFL.
Matt Thornton: Thanks for spending time with me Jerrod. I wish you luck in pursing your NFL career.
Jerrod Black is one of the most impressive interviews I have had the pleasure of conducting. He’s eloquent, knowledgeable, and seems to be a genuinely good guy. I personally watched Jerrod’s workout at the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp last season and I can tell you, without a doubt, he was the most impressive defensive tackle on the field. At one point during drills, he beat his man so quickly off the snap that Jerrod actually ran over the coach who was simulating the quarterback play; drawing a big laugh from players, coaches, and media.
I will never understand how or why Dallas passed on Jerrod, but their loss could be Philadelphia’s gain. In my opinion, Black is a perfect fit for Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis’ scheme. He is a space eating 3-4 defensive lineman who excels at occupying multiple blockers that allows linebackers to flow to the ball and make the tackle. Black can also get up field and apply pressure into the face of the quarterback. Chip Kelly should give Jerrod a long look because the buzz is out on Black and some team is going to sign him.