Accolades: First team All-Mountain West, 87-yard reception was the longest in the MWC in 2019.
Athletic Ability: Good athlete for his size, with solid foot speed, solid agility and change of direction ability, and solid contact balance to step through arm tackles.
Release: Solid release ability vs off man coverage, with solid burst off the LOS to attack the defense vertically and uses his good leverage understanding to chase the defender at the hip, creating a neutral stem. Solid release vs press, preferring his hesitation release then bursting around the defender. Does have a tendency to take the path of least resistance when jammed, and does not consistently re-stem when pushed off his route.
Separation: Solid separation vs off man, using solid curl deceleration, shows smooth sharp cuts on slant and post routes, and displays good awareness of zone coverage to find holes at all levels. Can fail to sink his hips, which cause his in and out breaking cuts to be rounded out.
Catching: Solid ability to adjust to balls thrown outside his frame in all directions with solid body control to post up smaller defenders. Good ability to high point the ball, using his height well. Has good natural hands and solid hand strength to come away with contested catches. Lacks the play strength to go through defenders to make a catch.
Yards After Catch (YAC): Not a legitimate YAC threat, with inefficient transition from receiver to runner, lacking the play strength to break more than ankle tackles, and does not display sufficient open field change of direction ability to make DBs miss. Does display solid foot speed, but is not very elusive.
Competitiveness: Shows good competitiveness throughout his game, and is a willing and capable blocker in the run or screen game. Continues to compete even when the game is out of hand, and shows good toughness and creativity during scramble drill.
Overall: Jackson is a tall, smart receiver who fits best at the Z position where he can challenge the defense vertically with his foot speed and leverage understanding and use his height to high point the ball over smaller defenders and use his solid hand strength to come down with it. He is capable as a blocker and will be a consistent competitor. His hip stiffness will limit his route tree in the intermediate area and he will not fit well in a west coast system due to his lack of YAC skills.
What to look for in 2020: Can he expand his route tree? Proving that he can be effective on dig and out routes will certainly move him closer to a complete WR prospect. And circle September 26th on your calendar, when Jackson’s performance vs an always staunch Vanderbilt defense will help produce a clearer picture of his true talent.
Way too early prediction: Jackson’s size and viability as a deep ball threat will certainly be intriguing to some NFL front offices, but his limitations in the short to intermediate passing game and as a YAC threat will cause him to slide to the middle of day 3. Look for Jackson to be picked up in the mid 5th to early 6th round.