Jared Crick was on his way to being a first round draft pick before suffering a major injury his senior season. His draft stock has fallen slightly, but he will still get his name called this weekend. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
High School - Hometown: Cozad High School- Cozad, Nebraska
Birthday: August 21, 1989 Collegiate Position: Defensive Tackle
Jared Crick exploded onto the scene in 2009 as Nebraska's defensive line terrorized quarterbacks on a weekly basis. AfterNdamukong Suh became a Heisman finalist and the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Crick faced unreasonable expectations to be House of Spears 2.0.
Crick proved that he was indeed a very good defensive tackle without Suh by his side, although the unreasonable comparisons and expectations seemed to overshadow a solid 2010 season. Regardless, the former three-star recruit from Cozad was a shoe-in first round draft pick...if he chose to leave school early.
Instead, he made the decision to come back for his senior year.
Preseason First-Team All-American (Athlon's, Lindy's, Playboy, Phil Steele, Sporting News)
Second-Team All-Big 12 (AP, KC Star, SA Express-News, Dallas Morning News, Rivals.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Walter Camp and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week (2009 at Baylor)
Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (2009 at Baylor)
NU Single-Game Records for Sacks (5) and TFLs (7) (2009 at Baylor)
Jared Crick was a member of the 2007 recruiting class and took a redshirt his freshman season. He didn't see a lot of playing time until 2009, but he quickly made a name for himself. Crick benefited from all the attention opponents gave Ndamukong Suh, and he put up some tremendous numbers for a defensive tackle with 73 tackles, 15 TFLs, and 9.5 sacks.
Five of those sacks came in one game against Baylor, setting the single-game school record.
Heading into the 2010 season, the question was whether or not Crick could separate himself from Suh's shadow. Without Suh, he still produced, and his numbers were almost identical to 2009. He finished the season with 9.5 sacks once again, as well as 70 tackles and 17 TFLs.
He decided to return for his senior year, and the hype began to build. Crick was a preseason All-American, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was ranked as the the preseason #1 player in the Big 10 by ESPN. Unfortunately, Crick did not have a chance to add much more to his highlight reel in 2011. A torn pectoral muscle early in the season ended Crick's standout college career earlier than planned. Ever since the injury he's been working hard on recovering and preparing to play in the NFL.
Key Collegiate Play:
Obviously the 5 sacks against Baylor in 2009 could go here, as well as a number of other good choices. However, I'm going with one of the few highlights from Crick's short senior season. It comes from the game against Washington. Early in the second quarter, the Husker defense was struggling to slow down Keith Price and the Washington offense. On a third and long, Jared Crick sacked Keith Price, and the hit that he delivered seemed to ignite the blackshirts and the crowd. It was also Crick's last sack as a Nebraska Cornhusker.
Why You Want Him On Your Team:
Crick is a very talented football player, who is versatile enough to play anywhere on the defensive line. Not only is he talented, but he's a hard working team player who is a vocal leader that will undoubtedly help make his teammates better. He proved in 2010 that he can put up good numbers without being next to an elite pass rusher.
Even though he hasn't played football in nearly 9 months, his numbers at the NFL combine and Nebraska's pro day make the case that he has recovered from his pectoral injury. Don't forget that this guy would have most likely been drafted in the first round a year ago. Should he fall to the second, third, or fourth round this year...he'd be a steal.
Last but not least- no character issues, no history of trouble. Why You May Not Want Him On Your Team:
Questions about durability. Before the pectoral injury, he suffered an MCL sprain in the spring of 2011. Even though he has healed from both injuries, it's no surprise that teams would look at other options. Another potential problem might be his size. Scouts say he is a little bit too small to play defensive tackle in the NFL, but maybe a little bit too big to play defensive end. Most still project him at defensive end.