As he approaches the 2021 NFL Draft, the stock of Coastal Carolina edge rusher Tarron Jackson is somewhat unclear. He was crucial to his team’s success in 2020, but does he have the physical traits necessary to have the same kind of impact at the NFL level?
Tarron Jackson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Edge Rusher
- School: Coastal Carolina
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’2 1/2″
- Weight: 260 pounds
- Wingspan: 81 1/8″
- Arm: 33″
- Hand:10 1/8″
Tony Pauline’s Tarron Jackson Scouting Report
Positives: Three-year starter who participated in the Senior Bowl this year. Hard-working college defensive end with average size and speed. Plays with balance and body control, is rarely off his feet, and effectively uses his hands.
Keeps his feet moving, fluidly moves about the field, and easily gets down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the action. Agile, breaks down well, and easily changes direction.
Negatives: Lacks great first-step quickness, has an average burst, and marginal long speed. Easily slowed by the initial block and gets out-positioned from the action by lesser opponents.
Analysis: Jackson had a productive college career and was a major contributor for the Coastal Carolina defense. He lacks the size for a defensive tackle as well as the quickness and speed to play defensive end, but he has enough tools to be a serviceable backup at the next level.
Tarron Jackson Player Profile
It seems like the road less traveled, but many NFL Draft prospects start out with relatively little fanfare on the recruiting trail in actuality. Only a select few earn high ranks in high school, and not all of those distinguished recruits reach their full potential in college. Conversely, many overlooked recruits go on to exceed expectations, and that’s exactly what Jackson did.
Jackson was unranked on ESPN’s board in the 2016 recruiting class, and he was a mere two-star recruit on 247 Sports. Jackson only received marginal interest from one Division I-A team — the Appalachian State Mountaineers. But even they did not offer him a scholarship. The only team that did, in fact, was Coastal Carolina, an FCS team in the middle of a transition to the Sun Belt Conference.
Grateful for the opportunity, Jackson signed with the Chanticleers and took the next step in his football journey.
Tarron Jackson’s career as a Coastal Carolina edge rusher
Despite being a two-star recruit, Jackson hit the field early for Coastal Carolina. Jackson played in the first four games of the 2016 season, setting the stage for what looked to be a promising start. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a deep thigh contusion four games in and was instead forced to miss the rest of the season. He took a medical redshirt and came back as a redshirt freshman in 2017.
Jackson’s injury took a toll on him, but he fought through it and returned to full strength in 2017. He managed to play eight games on the Chanticleers’ defensive line, amassing 20 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, and a forced fumble. The next season, he entered the starting lineup. At the time, he was closer to 270 pounds and played defensive tackle, logging 11.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in 12 starts.
Jackson’s uptick in production
As time went on, Jackson was employed in more of a defensive end role, and the adjustment paid dividends. The Coastal Carolina edge rusher accounted for 56 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks in 2019. The newly-appointed team captain earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors, and the next year, he continued to impress.
In 2020, Jackson logged 54 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks, as well as 4 forced fumbles. He again became a first-team All-Sun Belt honoree, earning the distinction two years in a row.
Overall, Jackson was a three-year starter for the Chanticleers. Over his four-year career, the Coastal Carolina edge rusher accumulated 188 total tackles, 42.0 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 6 forced fumbles. After his excellent 2020 campaign, Jackson declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and accepted an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Senior Bowl Performance
Tarron Jackson had an opportunity to stand out against heightened competition at the Senior Bowl. However, he wasn’t able to consistently stand out, with players like Cam Sample, Ta’Quon Graham, Daelin Hayes, and William Bradley-King stealing the spotlight. Here’s more on Jackson’s Senior Bowl, courtesy of PFN’s National Team Practice Report.
“In a strong defensive line group, Tarron Jackson fell under the radar. He wasn’t as consistently disruptive as his counterparts. Although Jackson’s high motor afforded him some solid reps, his limited athletic profile put a cap on his ability to find daylight around the edge. Jackson’s stock didn’t necessarily drop, but that’s more because he was already a mid-to-late Day 3 pick. More likely than not, Jackson lingers in a similar place after his trip to Mobile.”
Tarron Jackson’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
First and foremost, Jackson is a player with exceptional character and drive. He’ll be a phenomenal locker room presence for whichever team he goes to. The Chanticleers’ defender not only worked hard to come back from injury but also meticulously crafted his game to eventually dominate Sun Belt competition. He also has some versatility on the line, having played EDGE and interior roles at Coastal Carolina.
Having said all this, Jackson’s draft stock is unfortunately capped by his marginal athletic upside. At his pro day, Jackson put up fairly pedestrian numbers. His 4.71 40-yard dash time was solid, but on the defensive line, that number won’t come into play as much as his 29.5-inch vertical or his underwhelming 1.7 10-yard split. Jackson’s 118-inch broad jump boosts his profile a bit, but he still doesn’t quite have the desired natural explosiveness for his size.
Nevertheless, Jackson’s character boosts his floor and makes him a prime candidate for a selection somewhere late on Day 3. In Round 6 or Round 7, Jackson has the mental fortitude and versatility to be a valuable depth player. However, he may have to try and specialize if he wants to be more than that.
What is the desired scheme and role for Jackson?
Jackson’s experience in a multitude of roles should give him some love from NFL scouts. However, as a pass rusher, his upside might be limited on the edge. In all honesty, with his proportional length, Jackson might be best served to get back in the 270-275 range and become a hybrid three-technique in a multiple scheme. At any rate, Jackson’s motor and experience should give him some respectability.
Another good thing that comes with Jackson’s flexibility is a similar flexibility at the end of the draft. There should be plenty of teams in the market for high-character depth players on the defensive line with their later picks, and Jackson fits that definition well. He doesn’t carry a great deal of upside. Nevertheless, he could carve out a decent career as a safety net.
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