NAME: Joe Jackson
JERSEY: No. 99
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 258 lbs
Racking up 21 tackles for loss and 14 sacks across his first two seasons as a Hurricane, Jackson has found production early in his career. A long, lean and athletic edge defender, Jackson is physically gifted and plays with a hot motor. So far that has carried him, but in order to become a coveted NFL Draft prospect, Jackson needs to evolve in several areas to fully take advantage of his gifts.
The primary concern I have with Jackson is his vision to read the offensive tackles set. Jackson is more of a reactive player that does not set up his attack well. Even when he wins out of the gate with his quick first step and initial vertical push, Jackson doesn’t naturally use his hands to soften angles when he is hip-to-hip with blockers. Missing opportunities to attack offensive tackles when they are in vulnerable positions, Jackson must become more nuanced with his technique and become a more refined player. Jackson needs to be more assertive with his hands and develop the mental processing skills needed to effectively attack the pocket. Developing counters is critical.
As a run defender, Jackson showcases good power at the point of attack when his leverage is right. Too often, his pads get high and he is easily reached and driven out of his gap. It’s imperative for Jackson to become dedicated to keeping his low pads so he can anchor and control his gap more consistently and play through contact.
Make no mistake about it, Jackson has upside but he needs to put it all together to be a more consistently effective player. His concerns are teachable and his upside is evident.