Experienced; excelled against the best college talent
Looks like a very safe pick to plug and play for 5-10 years
Ability to handle speed rushers
Should improve knee bend for pass-rushers
Not a great fit for a zone scheme
Does he have much upside?
Summary: Jackson was one of the most consistently good offensive linemen in the SEC over the past four seasons. He was a mainstay on the All-SEC teams in that span as Mississippi State enjoyed having Jackson to help neutralize some of the excellent defensive tackles the Bulldogs took on.
Jackson was a Second-Team All-SEC selection in 2011, his second year as a starter, and was a powerful run-blocker for running back Vick Ballard. Jackson blocked well for Mississippi State again in 2012. He did very well against Alabama and defensive tackle Jesse Williams. Jackson also was solid against LSU and Texas A&M.
Jackson's best season was 2013. Against LSU, the senior kept Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson from making any tackles for a loss at his expense. Jackson also did well against South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. All three of those tackles could be selected in the first three rounds this May. Jackson improved his overall game, especially his pass protection, in his final collegiate season.
For the NFL, Jackson projects as a physical run-blocker at the point of attack. He has very strong hands and the power to drive defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage. Jackson can get to blocks on the second level and finishes blocks well. He has a mean streak and is very physical. Jackson is an enforcer who can bully smaller linemen and linebackers.
At the Senior Bowl, Jackson had some issues blocking speedy defensive tackles. He could use some work at that for the speedy three-techniques he will go against as a professional. Jackson has the bulk and strength to hold up well against heavy bull rushers, but the speed of the next level will be his biggest adjustment.
Jackson may want to drop some weight, especially if he is drafted for a zone-blocking system that requires more mobile offensive linemen. Jackson played left guard at Mississippi State, and in the NFL, offensive systems generally need left guards to have more athleticism than the right side. At the next level, Jackson would fit best as a right guard in a man-blocking scheme. There he can just be a road-grader at the point of attack.
Jackson looks like a second-day pick who could go early in the second round.
Player Comparison: Davin Joseph. Jackson has a similar style of play to Joseph (6-3, 318). Both are strong run-blockers who can pave the way for their backs and are good to run behind in short-yardage situations. Joseph was the 23rd overall-pick in 2006 NFL Draft. Jackson probably won't get selected that early, but he could turn into a player who is comparable to Joseph. Jackson is heavier than Joseph, but it wouldn't be surprising if Jackson's NFL team has him trim down some. Joseph has been to the Pro Bowl and was a reliable blocker for Tampa Bay before starting to show signs of decline at 30. Jackson could have a similar career.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Oakland, Minnesota, Miami
There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Jackson, especially in the early portion of the second round. A number of teams picking in the top-20 selections of Round 2 need interior offensive line help and are likely to draft for defense or a quarterback in the first round.
The Jaguars need a lot of help on their offensive line, and Jackson would make a lot of sense for Jacksonville as a player who could start immediately. Will Rackley has been awful and must be replaced. Plus, the Jaguars coached Jackson at the Senior Bowl, so the team got to know him well already.
WalterFootball.com learned from sources that the Falcons were very disappointed with the play of the inside of their offensive line in 2013. Atlanta wants to get bigger and more physical on the interior, and Jackson would help the organization accomplish that.
Carl Nicks may never play again for Tampa Bay while Davin Joseph is declining. The Bucs could consider a guard if they don't go that route in free agency.
Cleveland could use an upgrade over Shawn Lauvao and Oniel Cousins. Buffalo never replaced Andy Levitre adequately, while Oakland has to find a replacement for Lucas Nix. Any of those teams could target Jackson in the second round.
Minnesota could use a road-grader in front of Adrian Peterson, while Charlie Johnson is entering free agency. A guard could pay dividends for the Vikings.
Obviously, Miami needs a lot of help on its offensive line. The team needs help at guard as well as tackle. The Dolphins will probably use a combination of draft picks and free agent signings to improve the offensive line.