The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 9 days. I will be there and in between now and then I’ll be doing a lot of work getting up to speed on the draft class of 2015. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying
In addition to possesses road-grader size and power, Jackson will surprise with his athleticism and quickness when asked to mirror rushers or get to the second level as a run blocker, and plays with solid instincts and awareness in both facets of the offense.
Fleshy midsection with excess weight potentially affecting foot quickness. Loses feet sliding to pick up rushers. Will duck head into block on contact. Limited effectiveness in space. Inconsistent performer this season. Too reliant upon size over skill and failed to show improvement this season. Struggles to get feet into winning position when blocking laterally.
How he fits the Redskins: We may know the team’s level of interest in a player like Jackson sometime in the next few weeks. There has been plenty of speculation that they will let go of 32-year-old right guard Chris Chester at some point before free agency starts in order to save $4 million against the cap and get someone younger at the position.
If that happens—and that’s just speculation, not anything based on solid information at this point—it could mean that the team is going to hope that Spencer Long, a third-round draft pick last year, can grow into the right guard job. Or they might want to set up a competition between Long and a draft pick such as Jackson.
Jackson has the size that Scot McCloughan is looking for, although he perhaps is not as big as he was when the “fleshy midsection” comment above was made. During the season he was listed at 330 lb. He weighed in at 320 at the Senior Bowl. At 6-4, he probably has the frame to carry that much and be fairly solid. Terms like “road grader” and “power” also could get McCloughan’s attention.
Potential issues: Was his failure to show improvement in 2014 that Zierlein noted a matter of resting on his laurels after the team’s 2013 national title? Has he hit his ceiling? Does he put in the time in the weight room?
Bottom line: Whether or not Jackson is on the Redskins’ draft board could come down to whether or not McCloughan believes that he’ll keep his weight in check and continue to work to get better. The Redskins have had one mid-round lineman have issues with staying in shape and they don’t need another one. If he passes the interview process—and that will include coaches and staff at FSU as well as Jackson himself—he could get serious consideration when the second day of the draft rolls around.
Previously in Combine Countdown: