drake jackson – Edge rusher – 21 years – Junior – USC
Cut : 1m93
Weight : 113kg
Estimated draft position: end of 1st round – 2nd round
Stats 2021 : 10 matches, 33 tackles including 5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 deflected pass, 1 forced fumble and 1 covered
NFL Comparison: Markus Golden
– Pass rush moves
Star of USC defense, Drake Jackson stands out first and foremost for his versatility, in every sense of the word. At the top level, Jackson could be lined up in a 4-3 defense as well as a 3-4 defense. He has interesting pass rush moves that allow him to pass just as much outside the offensive line as inside. His good vision of the game helps him a lot to always remain dangerous during an action. He keeps his eyes in the backfield and has rarely been seen being surprised by a feint from the opposing attack. He has excellent explosiveness over short distances, which allows him to chase down running backs effectively.
What could hinder Drake Jackson in his quest to be one of the best edge rushers in his class is that he lacks a bit of power and size. Faced with the monsters of the NFL offensive lines, he could have trouble getting out of the blocks in order to make successful tackles. This was already the case in college and it will take a lot of casting to overcome this problem because on top of that, his hands are not particularly violent and players who stay behind the blocks in the NFL do not often play the 3 downs. On a few occasions, we also saw failures in the tackle and he will have to refine his technique to erase these inaccuracies.
Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets
With the 37th pick, the Texans could well steal if Jackson is still available. Needs are high for Lovie Smith’s squad and a versatile player like Drake Jackson could tick a lot of boxes. Gone are the days of Cliff Avril or even Frank Clark on the Seattle side. With a Darrell Taylor who should take a little more scale in 2022, it will be important to flesh out the rush pass and Jackson could perfectly suit Pete Carroll. The Packers certainly have Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, but they haven’t made up for the departure of Za’Darius Smith and that could be a great entry point for USC’s pass rusher. In New York, it’s a bit like in Houston, the holes are numerous and the qualities of Drake Jackson could be appreciated from the 1st day, but not sure if it is in the best interest of the player because he will need a little time to develop its full potential.