Jackson showed flashes of what was to come as a freshman, when he had 13 tackles, two for loss, and two sacks in reserve action. As a sophomore, he earned all SEC honors when he finished the season with 37 tackles, ten for loss, 8.5 sacks, and an interception. Bigger things were expected as a junior, and while he still had a fine season, the stats didnít show it. He finished the season with 36 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks on the year. Jacksonís numbers were very similar as a senior, when he finished with 34 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks.
Jackson brings a lot of versatility to the defensive line. He has the size and all around skill to impact the game in a lot of ways. He has an impressive set of tools, starting with excellent size for a defensive end. He is also a good athlete and can provide pressure on the quarterback on the edge. What sets him apart as an end though, is his run stopping ability. This may make him an ideal fit for a 3-4 defense, because he is stout at the point of attack and can really clog running lanes. Jackson could play end in a 4-3 or 3-4 alignment, but may also be able to shift inside in a 4-3. That type of versatility is going to ensure Jackson gets a lot of attention as the draft approaches, because he can fit any team that has a hole along the defensive line.
For a traditional defense end, Jackson may lack the explosive athleticism and quickness to be a consistent threat off the edge. His pass rush ability at the college level has a lot to do with his natural strength and ability to control the lineman, then use his athleticism to get into the backfield. In the NFL, he will not have such a physical advantage and will have to learn new ways to apply pressure.
For a team in need of a 3-4 end, Jackson may be the ideal fit. He is a standout at holding his ground, taking on blocks and stopping the run. He could bring above average penetration skills for a 3-4 end also. He can also fill holes in the 4-3, but fills a more specific role in a 3-4 alignment. He is the top player available in that role, so he really could go anywhere from the early teens to the end of the first based on the team drafting.