Sometimes football is just in your blood, which is certainly the case for the next player on our top 100 CFL players list.
Jackson Jeffcoat is the son of 15-year NFL defensive end Jim Jeffcoat. Jim dressed for 227 career games with the Dallas Cowboys (1983-1994) and Buffalo Bills (1995-1997), recording 724 total tackles, 102.5 sacks, 18 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.
Jackson was on track to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a first-round NFL draft pick. He was a five-star recruit out of Piano West Senior High School and the No. 1-ranked strong-side defensive end in the country by Rivals.com.
The six-foot-three, 250-pound pass rusher committed to the University of Texas where he made 172 total tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, nine knockdowns, four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.
Jeffcoat led the Big 12 in tackles for loss (20) and sacks (13) as a senior, setting him up to be at least a mid-round selection the NFL draft. He even won the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the top defensive end in college football with its winners including Terrell Suggs, Jadeveon Clowney, and Chase Young.
But that didn’t happen.
Jeffcoat went unselected in the 2014 NFL draft, which was shocking. Scouts had told him that he would probably be drafted in the third or fourth round, but certainly no later than the fifth round.
“It hurt, because all that work I put in, all that work I did to be special, it felt like it didn’t pay off,” Jeffcoat told Statesman.com. “I’m not going to lie; I was very surprised. Very surprised and very angry.”
The Cowboys didn’t consider signing Jeffcoat as an undrafted free agent, which he found disappointing given his father’s history with the team.
“That definitely hurt,” he said. “The team that my dad played for, a team that supposedly respected him, for them to say that I wasn’t an elite pass rusher, it was a blow. I grew up being a Cowboys fan. And for them to not even sniff at me?”
Jeffcoat spent three years in the NFL, bouncing between Seattle (2014), Washington (2014-2015) and Cleveland (2016). He made nine tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and one forced fumble in nine games with one start.
Ironically, his interception came against Tony Romo and the Cowboys.
The Dallas native came to the CFL in 2017, signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in February. He made the team as a rookie and quickly earned a starting role, making 39 total tackles, seven sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble in 16 games.
He’s dressed for just 24 of a possible 36 games over the past two years due to injury, but Jeffcoat has established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the CFL. Willie Jefferson gets most of the attention from fans and media, but Jeffcoat had two sacks and a forced fumble in last year’s Grey Cup.
Jeffcoat was set to make approximately $120,000 in 2020 before the cancellation of the CFL season due to COVID-19. He is slated to become a free agent in February 2021 and should be in high demand if he isn’t retained by the Blue Bombers.
3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.
54. SAM Dexter McCoil, Free Agent
55. OL Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders
56. REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes
57. DB Greg Reid, Montreal Alouettes
58. DL Mike Moore, Edmonton Football Team
59. OL Ryker Mathews, B.C. Lions
60. DB Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
61. LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent
62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Ottawa Redblacks
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions