Image Credit: USC Athletics
Former USC Trojan Austin Jackson is one of the top offensive tackles in the draft, and someone who will serve the purpose of protecting Miami’s new investment for the foreseeable future.. The Dolphins are getting a player who has the potential to anchor the left side of the line for years to come.
Austin Jackson will protect new quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s blind side, protecting the Dolphins’ shiny new quarterback. These two west-coasters should be best friends for years to come.
At 6-4, 322 pounds, the former Phoenix (AZ) North Canyon High School standout uses a unique combination of length, athleticism, and a big frame to his advantage. He has surprisingly quick feet and can hold a pass block longer than most in the draft. He was the anchor of an impressive USC offensive line that held quarterback Kedon Slovis upright in his first year as a starter. Jackson can play either tackle position. He’s athletic enough to block at the line of scrimmage or on the linebackers. Jackson has a quick punch that is effective and efficient in pass protection, and should add even more strength at the next level.
Jackson is not a finished product, but he will excite the coaching staff that drafts him. Many scouts report that he’s raw in technique, but loaded in athleticism. While he blocks aggressively, this can cause his shoulders to get out over his toes – compromising his base and leaning into the defender. It doesn’t happen often, but when he loses his balance in these situations, the quarterback or running back becomes an open target. He was able to get away with these mistakes in college because he was so athletic, but he will need to tighten his technique for the NFL.
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Jackson interviewed very well, and teams were excited to meet an athletic offensive lineman who also impresses as a good young man. He took a leave of absence from the USC program in early 2019 to donate bone marrow to his younger sister. After a successful donation, he returned to the program and played very well. GMs at the next level should appreciate that selfless attitude. When we look back in a few years on the 2020 draft, we might be wondering why Pro Bowler Austin Jackson wasn’t selected earlier.