- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 30, 2006

Maryland inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson went 34th overall to the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the NFL Draft yesterday.

Jackson pondered turning pro after his junior season, but a wrist injury that required surgery coupled with the expectation he would not be taken in the first round prompted him to remain at Maryland for an extra season.

He wound up as one of the nation’s top linebackers and the ACC’s defensive player of as a senior. Jackson averaged 13.7 tackles and added four sacks in 10 games and was a finalist for the Butkus Award. He was the first in ACC history to receive defensive player of the year honors while playing for a losing team.

The 6-foot, 229-pound Jackson does not possess the size of an ideal pro linebacker but could make up for it with his athleticism, instincts and savvy play. Those traits all served him well as a three-year starter at middle linebacker for the Terps after taking over for 2002 Butkus winner E.J. Henderson.

“I think [No. 34] is a good pick to go at,” Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. “E.J. went even later than that [No. 40 to the Minnesota Vikings in 2003].”

The Romeo Crennel-coached Browns play a 3-4 defense.

“It gives him another linebacker spot,” Friedgen said. “But he could play in any defense.”

— Patrick Stevens

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