McKinnley Jackson’s Draft Profile | Texas A&M DT Scouting Report

True nose tackles with pass-rush upside are hard to find. Does McKinnley Jackson fit that description with his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report?

Pure nose tackles are few and far between, so when you have a chance to add one with pass-rushing upside, you run with it. Does Texas A&M’s McKinnley Jackson’s 2024 NFL Draft scouting report suggest he could serve as such an asset for an NFL team?

Let’s dive in and discuss.

McKinnley Jackson’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’1 1/2″
  • Weight: 326
  • Length: 33 7/8″
  • Wingspan: 80 1/4″
  • Hand: 10″
  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • School: Texas A&M
  • Current Year: Senior

Jackson was recruited out of George County High School in Lucedale, Mississippi. Even in high school, recruiting specialists projected Jackson as a potential NFL talent. He was heavily recruited by more than half of the entire SEC, but he chose Texas A&M as his school.

Jackson immediately made an impact with the Aggies, earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors in 2020. He earned the team’s Defensive Toughness Award as a sophomore and was voted a team captain as a junior in 2022.

The 2022 season proved to be a productive year for Jackson, who was not only a team captain but also won the team’s Defensive Leadership Award, the Defensive MVP Award, and the Strength and Conditioning Award. And on the field, he had two sacks and seven total tackles for loss to show for it.

MORE: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

In 2023, Jackson added three sacks, 5.5 total TFLs, and a forced fumble to his career totals, earning an invite to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl in the process. There, he showed off his pass-rushing upside in 1-on-1s before following up that appearance with a trip to the NFL Combine.

At the Combine, Jackson logged a 5.26 40-yard dash with a strong 1.78 10-yard split at almost 330 pounds, and he also put up an 8’10” broad jump near the 63rd percentile among all defensive tackles.

Jackson’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) won’t jump off the page at first glance, but as a nose tackle, he quietly brings a lot of exciting components to the fold. What does his report say about his projection, and what he can provide an NFL defense?

Jackson’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Sports an extremely dense, compact, and well-leveraged frame with high-end mass.
  • Mix of natural leverage and near-elite proportional length allows him to control blocks.
  • Frame proportions amount to high-end strength and raw power capacity.
  • Explosive, energetic short-strider who brings above-average burst for his size.
  • Amped-up, twitched-up bowling ball with exciting foot speed for his physical build.
  • Has the snappy twitch to shift from lateral to vertical mode and loop across the line.
  • Has the core strength to easily anchor 1-on-1 and establish half-man relationships.
  • Strength and natural leverage allow him to absorb double-teams without being flushed.
  • Will actively bait linemen into overextending before wrenching them down with torque.
  • Can use leg churn and successive bouts of torque to slog and bulldoze through blocks.
  • Has shown he can employ forceful swipes and rips to pry around blockers and into gaps.
  • Can levy spin moves against double-teams and effectively places the icepick to finish.
  • Has a surprisingly deep pass-rush arsenal for a nose tackle, with mobility to channel it.
  • Fights combo blocks as if offended by the notion that two blockers will slow him down.
  • High-IQ run defender with the awareness to maintain angles and seal cutback lanes.

Weaknesses

  • Natural leverage and low center of gravity comes at the cost of lower-body surface area.
  • With low-to-the-ground frame, sometimes gets lost in the scrum and loses track of RBs.
  • At times plays too far upright in an attempt to compensate for lacking lower-body mass.
  • Upright reps can expose him to displacement energy against double-teams and combos.
  • Sometimes bends his knees too much and lurches in run defense, sacrificing his balance.
  • Can improve at using his anatomical length to latch and anchor while keeping his base.
  • At times, can better align base and load up arms to generate point-of-attack power.
  • Timing and sequencing when attempting to deconstruct blocks can still improve.
  • Has a habit of diverting upright on swim and arm-over attempts, exposing his torso.
  • With his wider and more compact frame, visibly lacks high-level functional flexibility.
  • Lacks much in the way of ankle flexion and can’t pry around blocks while reducing.
  • Doesn’t have sideline pursuit speed and is more of a factor in condensed situations.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Jackson grades out as a fringe top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. Due to the positional scarcity of true nose tackles, he could go in the mid-to-late Day 2 range, or he could be a value addition on Day 3. Either way, he presents plenty of upside.

At 6’1 1/2″, 326 pounds with near-34″ arms, Jackson has a lab-built combination of natural leverage and proportional length. And on his best reps, you can see how that combination allows him to control blocks, exert power, absorb double-teams and combo blocks, and violently deconstruct.

Beyond his pure physical profile, Jackson also has impressive functional athleticism, burst, and twitch for his size, and that lends him very apparent pass-rushing potential. He’s shown he can levy swipes, rips, swims, cross-chops, and spin moves, as well as channel his power capacity.

Having said all this, Jackson’s down-to-down consistency can still improve, particularly with his leverage acquisition and pad-level maintenance. While he has great natural leverage, he sometimes has trouble managing the pendulum of playing too far upright or playing with too much lean.

KEEP READING: Top DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Jackson still has to learn how to align himself better and distribute his frame, as leveraging and weight distribution issues can impede his balance through contact. Going further, while Jackson is a good athlete for his size, he lacks the flexibility to recover and reduce through gaps consistently.

If Jackson can improve his leveraging, he can be a quality starter with natural utility as a nose tackle at 0-tech and 1-tech. Not only does he have visible early-down utility, but he also has a lot of pass-rushing juice for a space-eater, and he can be a three-down presence.

Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles