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Tarron Jackson would benefit from studying under 2 of the best

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2021 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cure Bowl - Liberty v Coastal Carolina Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tarron Jackson, EDGE
School: Coastal Carolina | Conference: Sun Belt
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6’2.5” / 260 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Rounds 4-6

College Statistics

Player Overview

During his freshman year at Coastal Carolina, Jackson suffered leg injury early in the season and received a medical redshirt as a result. As a redshirt freshman, he played in the first eight games, but missed the last four with injury. He was named the team’s Strength and Conditioning Defensive Athlete of the Year. In 2018, he was able to start in all 12 games, but once again dealt with a leg injury. Nevertheless, he performed well enough to be named to the All Sun Belt third team.

Jackson broke out in 2019, being voted as one of the team captains early in the season, starting all 12 games at defensive end (and actually playing tight end in one), and leading the Sun Belt with 10 sacks on the year. His stand out performance earned him an All Sun Belt first team selection. In 2020, he again dominated the competition, starting all 12 games, netting 8.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles, among other defensive superlatives. He was subsequently recognized as the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

Jackson also graduated from Coastal Carolina with a degree in mathematics and received academic awards virtually every year. In many respects, his potential career trajectory reminds me a bit of James-Smith Williams, who Washington drafted last year, despite nagging injuries in college. An incredibly bright individual with dynamic athleticism, JSW was a welcome late round addition to the team in 2020.

Jackson recently had his Pro Day:

Unofficially, Turnage had Jackson running 40-yard dash times of 4.62 to 4.66, which both he and Jackson were pleased with — though CCU unofficially had the 40 times at 4.70 and 4.71 — and posting a 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump that matched a personal best.

He also posted a 4.51-second short shuttle, 29.5-inch vertical jump, and 25 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.

“He is just extremely personable. Just a kid that you get in a good mood after you talk to him no matter when it is,” Turnage said. “His specialty defensive line trainer and outside linebacker trainer working with him in Dallas, on his position work and different things, both said he’s one of the hardest working guys they’ve ever had.

Strengths

  • Effectively uses his hands to shed blocks.
  • Strong and solidly built.
  • Has impressive athleticism.
  • Plays with explosive burst.
  • Has knack for creating turnovers.
  • Had impressive production in college.

Weaknesses

  • Played against lower level competition.
  • Still has to refine technique, which could give him significant upside in the pros.
  • Has some history of injury.
  • Could use more flexibility/bend on the edge.
  • Needs to improve as a run defender.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

I would think that every Washington fan is looking towards - at least - several more years of Chase Young and Montez Sweat continuing to improve and operating on each side of the defensive line to torment the dreams of opposing quarterbacks. That having been said, though they’re each athletic marvels, they can’t both play 100% of defensive snaps. The team needs to provide adequate, rotational depth behind them, and with Ryan Kerrigan having departed, that leaves James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill as our current depth.

By most accounts, Jackson has the physical gifts to succeed in the NFL, but he needs to work on key refinements to his game in order to be an effective pro. I can hardly think of two better defensive ends to understudy with than Young and Sweat. Many will say that defensive line is not an area of need, and that the draft focus this year should be elsewhere. I’d argue that, in order for it to remain a strength we need to continually be looking to improve it with the best available talent, particularly in the draft. A player of Jackson’s potential could be just such an addition.