NAME: Joe Jackson
JERSEY: No. 99
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 258 lbs
First Step Quickness – Has lost some of his prior explosiveness in efforts to bulk. Speed rushes still connect but from wide angles and predominantly thanks to secondary acceleration vs. initial power and burst. First movement out of his three point stance is the pads popping up, needs to drive forward more .
Hand Technique/Length –Much more effective in two arm stabs and half-man run fits. Powerful punch pairs well with effective upper body press, but he doesn’t finish his stack and rip off of contact cleanly. Instead he’ll look to run through space…but he doesn’t have the explosive quickness to prevent hand reset.
Pass Rush Counters – Frustrating lack of variety. Still wants to be a pure speed rusher but needs to be much more deliberate with his challenges. Lack of cerebral approach, instead looks to duck the inside shoulder and speed rush off the edge. Is capable of converting speed to power and collapsing sets.
Flexibility –Can be up and down with results turning the corner. Every once in a while he’ll give you a high lean rep to suggest he’s still got the high cornering skills in his bag of tricks. Can get caught with pads too high at first contact, however. Anchors well with strong coil through hips.
Run Defending –Like his run fits and he’s got good anchor, good length and an effective first punch. His lapses in hand usage diminish his impact and dominance at the point of attack, with more positive usage and deliberate shedding techniques he could be a prominent player vs. the run.
Competitive Toughness –Had some high quality flashes off of contact against FSU and UVA. Hands do possess power and does collapse soft setting OTs on the edge successfully. Plays on the right side of the LOS against the run. Great pursuit player, even on shallow passes that turn up field.
Tackling –Heady effort to attack the football as a tackler in the pocket. Massive wingspan is effective to grab cloth and shows desirable upper body strength to wrangle the ball carrier. Shows some good tilt to carry speed through turns and get onto the hip of the ball carrier off the back side.
Lateral Mobility –Lateral agility and burst is effective but not exceptional when he’s pressured to the edge. Does not, however, show a great deal of short area quickness to cross face or flash inside without having to open hips into the inside lane, doesn’t redirect well in such instances as a result.
Stand Up Ability –Occasionally tasked with working from a stand-up role on the edge. Could feasibly play 3-4 OLB and have success if he’s able to further refine his release from 2 pt. stance and if he’s given the chance to drop a bit of extra muscle mass (functional strength is fine).
Football IQ –Technical deficiencies stand as significant barriers to an every down role and ability to be an impact starter. Is going to be a player that will take the full three-year incubation period before it is apparent whether he’s going to mature into a starter or not.
PROSPECT COMPARISON – Joe Schobert
BEST TRAIT – Length
WORST TRAIT – First Step Explosiveness
BEST FILM – Florida State (2018)
WORST FILM – LSU (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Joe Jackson projects best as an even front defensive end. Jackson has pretty drastically altered his body since arriving at Miami, adding 30 lbs to his frame and becoming much more of a power end. That transition leads to some irregularities in his game: he isn’t overly developed with pass rush counters and has lost some of the explosiveness that made him so potent early in his career. May be well served to cut some weight to gain some juice back in his rush.
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.