Career Recap: After decades as one of the top programs in the country for NFL talent, Miami fell back to being in the middle of the pack. However, things are starting to turn back around for the Hurricanes, as a lot of young talent has come to the program over the past couple of years. Joe Jackson is one of those intriguing young prospects and has flashed real potential over the first two years of his collegiate career.
As a freshman in 2016, Jackson had an impressive debut with 8.5 sacks with 32 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles on the year. He then played well as a sophomore, forming a nice end tandem with Chad Thomas. Jackson totaled 59 tackles with 11.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two passes batted, and one forced fumble for 2017. The best offensive tackle who Jackson saw all lsat season was Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey, and Jackson had a good game taking on the ninth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
2018 Season Outlook: Jackson has a quality schedule during his junior season, including some competent ACC opponents. He will see an NFL prospect at offensive tackle when he takes on Boston College's Chris Lindstrom on October 26th.
Skill-Set Summary: In the passing-driven NFL, defensive ends who can after the quarterback are always highly coveted because teams have to have an edge rush to form a good defense. With the rush potential that Jackson has shown the past two seasons, he is an intriguing prospect for the next level. With his natural combination of size, speed and athleticism, Jackson has real potential to be a good edge defender in the NFL.
Jackson needs work in the ground game. He flashes the ability to hold his ground and stand up blocks, but there are too many plays on which he gets pushed out of his gap or knocked around. In run defense, Jackson is better when he works upfield and uses his speed to cause disruption in the backfield. He needs to get stronger in his lower body to hold his ground at the point of attack. With more development, Jackson has the potential to be a balanced defender who is a solid contributor against the run.
As a pass-rusher, Jackson has a lot of natural nose for the quarterback. Jackson fires off the ball and shows good first-step quickness. He can use speed to fly by tackles and achieve quick pressure by working up field. Jackson flashes real speed-to-power potential when he powers into tackles and rolls them into the signal-caller. When he gets free, Jackson also has a burst to close on the quarterback in a hurry. On top of speed, Jackson has some natural strength in his bull rush to roll blockers backward. He plays with good leverage to get underneath the pads of tackles and send them backpedaling into the pocket. On top of his physical talent, he has good vision to see the movement of the quarterback, and Jackson adjusts to that while giving a second effort.
One of the big points of emphasis for Jackson to improve is to develop more pass-rushing moves. He needs to develop a spin move and a rip move, and improve on working back to the inside to go along with his bull rush and speed rush. Right now, Jackson can be too predictable with speed or power. He will see better offensive tackles in the NFL and having a repertoire of moves is a necessity for any elite pass-rusher.
For the NFL, Jackson has the potential to be an impactful pass-rusher who could acheive double-digit sack totals. He could fit as a standup 3-4 outside linebacker or be a right end in a 4-3 defense. Jackson has a lot of upside. If he works hard to maximize his skill set and develop his natural potential, he could be a special player.
2019 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering his junior season, Jackson has first-round potential. Some sources feel that he has the potential to go high, but others feel he needs development.