Muench's Trenches: Top prospect battles
November, 22, 2013
By Steve Muench | ESPN.com
Even though Mississippi State played Alabama as tough as any team, other than Texas A&M, this season, the Bulldogs scored just once, and their top 2014 draft prospect didn't have a great day.
Left offensive guard Gabe Jackson flexed his muscle at times, but Alabama defensive end/defensive tackle Jeoffrey Pagan got the better of him during the course of the game and showed better than expected strength on plenty of snaps. While he gave ground a couple of times, the considerably lighter Pagan played with good pad level and held his ground for the most part. Pagan also gets the clear edge when it comes to hand fighting. He regularly shot his hands inside and extended his arms, plus he tracked the ball well and flashed the ability to shed Jackson in time to make the play.
Jackson didn't see much of inside linebackers C.J. Mosley and Trey DePriest. Jackson did an adequate job of cutting them off at the second level, though he didn't overwhelm them like a player of his size is capable. He recognized and reacted late on a B-gap blitz from Mosley. It wasn't his only slip in pass protection. He struggled to redirect at times, and true freshman A'Shawn Robinson surprisingly beat him with power for a sack.