Run Defense - Sets a firm edge, plays with extension and maintains outside leverage. Could stand to be more deliberate about squeezing down the b-gap. Dominates tight ends attempting to turn him out.
Pass Rush - Wants to win with pure speed up the arc and I wish he’d embrace his power elements more as a rusher. Features a good rip move with ability to flatten and turn but he’s not explosive enough to simply win races up the arc. Counters still need development.
Burst - He’s quick off the ball but can’t win with burst alone. Has been tasked with duties in space and I do not like his ability to close distances and cover. Carries good speed up the arc but it’s fairly gradual.
Effort - The Hurricanes have built up a reputation as a high-energy group that gets 11 to the football and Jackson embraces that mentality. Lacks secondary counters as a pass rusher but he keeps working to find leverage points and unhinge.
Hand Technique - Like the pop he brings with his strikes which sets him up favorably to play with extension. Hands are busy but counters aren’t yet effective. Needs to develop the ability to string together rush moves.
Flexibility - Tight hips do not complement his desire to win with speed up the arc. Sluggish transitions flowing to the sideline. Lacks the fluidity and agility to win in space where Miami played him more than he should.
Processing - Vision is spotty ready the set of the offensive tackle and most effectively attacking the pocket. Tardy responses on reps he’s tasked with working in space. Average ability to process run schemes.
Play Strength - Illustrates good functional strength throughout his frame. Generally sets firm edges and holds his own on exchanges. Has the ability to convert speed to power and challenge the width of the pocket.
Versatility - He’s a base end in a 4-3 defense all day long. Has appealing against the run and pass. Would not task him with stand up or two-gapping duties. May have some interior pass rushing upside.
BEST TRAIT - Frame/Play Strength
WORST TRAIT - Flexibility/Rush Counters
RED FLAGS - None
Jackson profiles perfectly to a base end role in a 4-3 alignment. He’s NFL-ready right now to defend the run and set the edge. While he does have appeal as a pass rusher, developing his plan and embracing his strengths to more effectively deploy his rush is necessary. From the way he attacks, Jackson bills himself as a speed rusher up the arc. While he does have some success dipping that inside shoulder and hitting a rip move, he doesn’t have the burst and bend to be consistent with that at the next level. His play strength, length and development of hand counters should be embraced to take his ability to rush to the next level. Jackson has the physical traits the league is looking for as 4-3 defensive ends and he has the makeup of a starter with development.
Round Grade - Early Day Three