Getty Drake Jackson during the 2022 NFL Combine.
The Detroit Lions are looking at the final stretch of preparation ahead of the 2022 NFL draft, and thoughts have begun to shift for the team to the players they care about most.
For the most part, all has been quiet for the Lions leading up to the draft on this, but a few names have started to emerge in the process. Perhaps not surprisingly, the defense has gotten most of the attention on this, given Detroit’s primary needs on that side of the ball. Another player has emerged who can give them a bit of strength in the position.
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According to Jordan Schultz, the Lions are one of the teams that have an interest in USC defensive lineman Drake Jackson. Jackson has become a popular figure on the draft circuit because of his ability to rush the passer, which is why he has drawn the attention of many NFL teams lately.
Keep an eye out for @USC_FB EDGE Drake Jackson. Versatile pass rusher who can fit into any scheme given his ability to play the run + can line up outside in a 3-4. #Lions, #Ravens and #Patriots among the many teams that want it.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) April 10, 2022
“Keep an eye on USC Edge Drake Jackson. Versatile pass rusher who can fit into any scheme given his ability to play the run and can line up outside in a 3-4. Lions, Ravens and Patriots among the many teams that like him,” Schultz wrote in a tweet.
That the Lions are interested in a player like Jackson is not a surprise. The racer comes from a great program and conference, and he would easily rank as one of the top dogs in this year’s class. However, it’s clear the Lions will have a lot of competition for the player, so they may need to prioritize him early in the draft to land him, perhaps in the third round.
If that ends up being the case or is developing, it may have been a long time coming for the player and team given the interest shown at the moment.
Jackson’s College Statistics and Highlights
There’s no doubting Jackson’s talent given what he’s been able to do on the field for the Trojans consistently in his college career. Jackson is a three-time All-PAC 12 second-team player from 2019, 2020 and 2021, showing his ability to be consistent on the field in terms of production and pass rush. Statistically, this was also the case, as Jackson recorded 103 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed, and 2 forced fumbles in his college career. Here’s a look at some of his best work:
PlayDrake Jackson || Defensive end for the USC Trojans || 2021 Highlights Highlights of Drake Jackson’s 2021 season. 37 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception. Jackson is a projected top player in the 2022 NFL Draft. We do not own the copyright to this video, it belongs to ESPN and its affiliates. Everything shown in the video…2021-12-23T04:13:03Z
Jackson is obviously a strong player with a fast engine, and he’s shaping up to be one of the best pass-rushers to come out of this draft even though he hasn’t generated much buzz at this point in the process.
Lions defensive line could use Draft Boost
It’s not a surprise to see the Lions linked with a defensive lineman, particularly a player of Jackson’s talent. Detroit only collected a total of 30 sacks in 2021, and the team has been seen as soft in the trenches for a while. The Lions definitely have talent up front with Julian Okwara and his brother Romeo Okwara at the helm. The Lions also locked up veteran Charles Harris this offseason, and they have young players already on the load in Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike. Despite these facts, it has been seen that the Lions need more depth and play creation up front and a serious rebuild of their defensive line.
A prospect like Jackson could allow the Lions to perhaps begin to cultivate the depth they’ve been lacking up front of late, and the kind of depth that leads to winning football on defense.
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Lions ‘Like’ Top PAC-12 Pass Rusher During NFL Draft: Report – Home