26 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Drake Jackson, OC, Kentucky
Senior | 6’2” 310 lbs | Versailles, KY | First Team All-SEC
Drake Jackson has above average athletic ability for the position, with solid lateral agility to space block and balance to recover from awkward positions. He has the necessary quickness to be effective at the second level, but does not possess the elite change of direction ability to catch hard slanting DLs.
Combo blocking is where he shines the most. Shows good timing and punch strength to seal the DT, flowing well to fit at the 2nd level. Once he reaches the 2nd level defender, he lands his hands well on the chest and drives his legs with solid power to clear a running lane. He possesses the lateral agility to both reach and scoop block, though he can tend to lunge at time rather than patiently getting square. Lack of length can limit his effectiveness base blocking one-on-one, as he can allow longer DTs to get their hands to his chest, which causes his pads to rise and sacrifices leverage.
Effective gap blocker, firing out with low pads and strong leg drive. Solid lateral agility and smart hand placement allows him to often attack the side of defender, creating better leverage and knocking him off the line with greater efficiency. He can trap block well with solid foot speed and the patience to get square. He can occasionally allow his pads to rise on contact, but fights well to re-leverage.
Solid overall pass protector with a quick first step off the line. Extends his arms well and has the awareness to recognize stunts with the change of direction ability to pick them up. He can be pushed back initially by bigger bull rushing DL, but fights to stand his ground with good ankle bend. He has the upper body strength to turn defenders when beaten and has solid punch strength to widen slanting DL. Good awareness and competitiveness, consistently looking for work, but can be unaware of late blitzers and allow them to slip in behind him.
Jackson’s lack of arm length limits his projection to a center at the next level. He fits best in a gap-heavy scheme where his lower body strength and smart hands will allow him to knock DTs off the ball. He will also be effective in combo blocking situations, but could struggle one-on-one zone blocking, where longer defenders will be able to land their hands and gain leverage. Would fit best in a short to intermediate passing scheme, as his lack of elite anchor and change of direction ability will not allow him to hold up on deep passes without help.
Lack of versatility and length may prevent Jackson from being a Day 1 or 2 selection. Look for him to go in the late 4th or early 5th round.
What to watch 2020:
Last season, WR Lynn Bowden took many of the snaps behind center. With more of a traditional QB next season, Jackson will be asked to pass protect more frequently. How he holds up may significantly affect his draft stock.