Recency bias is inescapable this time of year. Between brilliant All Star games and blistering Combine times, those that may not have had the chance to participate will naturally slip your mind. This is the case with standout Alabama Safety Eddie Jackson.
As a freshman Jackson started 4 games at CB, then tore his ACL in the spring before returning extremely quickly for a 10 start stint in his Sophomore year at CB. Transitioned to safety for his junior year and led the team with 6 INTs. Jackson was considered a high draft pick, but returned for his senior season and broke his leg in the eighth game.
At the Combine Jackson was only able to participate in the bench press, cranking out a meager 10 reps. Having not participated in most of the second half of the season and not having run timed drills yet has many gun shy to revisit the high praise they were heaping on Jackson coming into the season. There is a simple solution to this timidity, what does the tape tell you? From what I’ve seen, chances are I’m considerably higher on his return investment than others.
— Michael Kist (@MichaelJKist) March 19, 2017
Name: Eddie Jackson
Size: 6’1″ / 201
Comparison: Devin McCourty (Patriots)
Draft Grade: Late 1st Round
Combine: Bench – 10 Reps
Positives: Range. Excellent ballskills and soft hands; will not leave turnovers or big plays on the field. Good numbers-to-numbers range. Very good angles and burst out of his pedal in the passing game. Adept route recognition and eye discipline. Good click and close on intermediate routes and aggressive moving foward. Experienced playing man and zone coverage and understands WR-CB-S relationships due to playing at all three positions from high school to college. Capable of covering tight ends. Secure tackler. Dangerous return man on special teams and after interceptions.
Negatives: Hesitant to attack in traffic vs. run. Not a dynamic open field tackler. Allowed more freedom with caliber of talent around him. Can be baited with play action due to aggressiveness. Right at the 200 pound threshold for an NFL safety. Injury history will raise concerns (ACL, broken leg).
Outlook: Jackson was unable to participate in Alabama’s initial Pro Day, but on March 29th it is believed he will participate in their second Pro Day. His performance and medical checks will either erase some doubt or create more and will be incredibly important to his draft stock. Assuming he is healthy, Jackson joins a quality list of safeties that can contribute early and start sooner than later while adding extra value in the return game on special teams.