Drafted: ROUND: 2 - Pick Number: 61 (SF)
Draft Profile: BioA four-star high school prospect, Jackson ranked as the 10th-best player in California. During his senior year, Jackson was named All-Big VIII League Co-MVP after making 27 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and 6 pass deflections.
During his 11 games as a starter for USC in 2019, Jackson led the team in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (5.5). His performances earned him an honorable mention for the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
Jackson was still one of the top pass rushers in the sport in 2020. In six starts as a sophomore, he tallied 20 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. In the regular-season finale against UCLA, he received Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week merits after generating 5 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.
Jackson further upped his performance in 2021 logging 6 sacks and 17 QB hurries while playing on 414 snaps
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Fantastic closing speed timed at 4.5 secs in the forty - with long arms to drag down quarterbacks and running backs.
- Has enough athleticism to drop in coverage and penetrate the pocket. Has good experience as a four-year starter.
- Has a great set of pass rush moves in particular a spin move which when combined with his speed is almost impossible to defend for slower blockers
- Is not just an edge threat - has pressured the quarterback multiple times from the inside
- Versitile can play both outside linebacker and defensive end
- Reacts well to draw plays and misdirection, sniffs out screens to his side of the field. Keeps his eyes in the backfield when rushing the passer and uses hands and strength to stay in the play.
- Has nimble feet and good lateral movement - can operate in intermediate zone coverage and handle tight ends one on one
- Gives effort between the tackles to find the ball and is willing to take on linemen.
- Flashes closing speed and agility to reach passers from the blind side or up the middle before they can escape.
- Good all-around athlete with very good short-area quickness and fluidity. Very good playing strength and has worked hard in the weight room, adding bulk and filling out his frame.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Builds to top speed but must take the right line to beat backs to the edge.
- Inconsistent getting off blocks from smaller offensive players gets moved or out-positioned and forced to chase down plays from behind.
- Height leaves him susceptible to cut blocks he must learn to defeat with his hands.
- Inconsistent as a tackler - not good when runners run directly at him
- Could do with improving his technique as a pass rusher - he relies to much on athletic ability something he won't be able to do at the next level
Scouting Report: SummaryDrake is a quality prospect who possesses impressive athletic ability: he has a unique combination of speed, agility, power as well as nice size for the position and may very well blow up the combine come 2022.
Jackson however is a little raw and needs work on his pass rush technique as well as improving his inconsistent tackling.
Drake Jackson will likely hear his name called at the end of day one of the 2022 NFL Draft and likely be a starter as a pass rush specialist by season's end.
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