Our next offensive tackle prospect is Austin Jackson of USC, one of the Pac-12’s finest offensive lineman. He has put on a show this year and has been soaring up the draft boards.
Austin Jackson has a nice body frame for an offensive tackle. At 6’6, 320 ibs., he is a guy that can move defenders around with his size. Jackson is a guy I see that has the athleticism but does not use it to his full potential. He is a raw prospect, but is the perfect guy to groom behind a veteran. While he is raw, Jackson does have good footwork and keeps a steady pace with elite pass rushers. I think that, along with his size, will help his draft stock more so than his other traits.
Watching Jackson on tape makes football look effortless. He has incredible length for his position which is absolutely an advantage. Many defensive tackles in the NFL get snubbed because they don’t have the length to handle the offensive line. Jackson is a guy that will cause problems for a DT. Jackson’s size alone is a huge advantage. I see his major strength being his length, and as long as he can use that to his advantage in the NFL and stay competitive, he’ll be solid.
Austin Jackson has the body you want in an NFL tackle. He stands 6’6 310lbs. Jackson is a plus athlete, he moves his feet well and can move with speed rushers. He’s quick off the ball and has quick feet. Jackson has the tools to be a future starting left tackle. The upside with Jackson is undeniable and expect to hear there was an offensive line coach “pounding the table” for Jackson. As his physical tools are excellent, he just needs to work on his technique some.
Physically, Jackson has all the tools needed to be an NFL tackle. He’s tall, which means he has long arms as well, he weighs over 300 lbs, and he’s athletic for his size. Being in the Pac-12 has somewhat made him an unknown, but I think he’ll showcase a lot of his ability at the combine. He’s quick with attacking with his hands, and he’s quick on his feet when he has to climb to the second level.
Austin Jackson is a project. He blocks too high, causing him to lose leverage with his defenders. His technique also needs work. At times, you will see him pass block with his arms crossed and it even works on some plays, but he will have to work on that to prove to teams he can be a competitive offensive tackle. At times, Jackson will panic with speedy pass rushers and lose leverage as well.
Despite these weaknesses, I do see potential in Austin Jackson and I think he might be one of the most athletic offensive tackles in this draft.
Watching film, I didn’t see a lot of forcefulness from Jackson. Yes, he has the length to throw guys around, but he wasn’t giving the feeling of power that most offensive lineman do. He was upright and didn’t get very low in most of the clips, and he didn’t necessarily have tremendous speed.
While the physical tools are there Jackson’s technique still needs work. He is still somewhat raw as a player. He may not be able to start day 1 for a team. The other problem with Jackson is his strength. He definitely is lacking compared to others in that department. However, with some strength, technique and a bit of grooming you may have a franchise cornerstone in Jackson.
Jackson has all the physical tools necessary but he is a raw talent. He lacks some elite assets like strength, lateral agility, and balance. His size gives him a great base but he was beaten by edge rushers and other moving defenders a decent amount of times. He is a project and it might take a season for him to bloom. He already has the most difficult part and that is the body.
Draft Projection: Where will of the top offensive tackle prospects land in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Austin Jackson has the potential to be a franchise tackle for NFL teams. However, I do not think he is a day one starter at the moment. I see him as the perfect candidate to groom behind a veteran offensive tackle like Joe Staley from the 49ers or Duane Brown from the Seahawks. I see Austin Jackson as an early-late 4th round pick. However, there might be some teams that are willing to take a gamble on him early and select Jackson in the late third round. Wherever he lands, teams very well could have their franchise offensive tackle for the future.
I project Jackson to go somewhere between the 3rd and 5th rounds. He has solid size, but I don’t think he has the athletic ability to go in the first few rounds. The biggest downfall for him is that he doesn’t move very well at the hips, so we’ll see what happens in the draft for Austin Jackson.
Jackson is more than likely going anywhere between late round 3 to early round 5. He is raw and probably not a guy you want starting for you as a rookie. He is somewhat of a project, but his upside may ring too appealing for some teams. Teams with aging left tackles should target him. Teams like the Rams and 49ers could use the upside Jackson offers later in the draft.
Jackson needs long term development, but any team that is patient and willing to take the time to build him right, will reap major benefits. Because he is on the raw side, I wouldn’t expect to see him go until the mid-third round. If a team needs a future cornerstone tackle and is willing to be patient with him, he could go as early as the mid-late second round.