One of two USC Trojans invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Austin Jackson came into the showcase as one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the entire draft class. The consensus top-tier group of tackles at the moment consists of Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton.
Jackson is firmly at the top of the very next tier, along with TCU’s Lucas Niang and Houston’s Josh Jones.
Jackson did his best to separate himself from Niang and Jones in Indianapolis, putting together one of the most consistent performances across the gauntlet of tests. Here are Jackson’s results from the combine:
40-yard dash: 5.07 (8th)
Bench Press: 27 (T-8th)
Vertical Jump: 31.0” (8th)
Broad Jump: 115” (T-3rd)
3-Cone: 7.95 (13th)
Highest NFL Combine SPARQ OTs:— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) March 2, 2020
1. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
2. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
3. Austin Jackson, USC
4. Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas
5. Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Jackson was also one of the standouts during the on-field portion of drills. Even at his size, it was apparent just how athletic the big guy was. In the mirror drill, where linemen are asked to kick-slide and shuffle side-to-side on a coach’s command, Jackson was very fluid in his movements. He didn’t waste a lot of time sticking his foot in the ground to change directions while consistently maintaining a wide base throughout. In drills where the linemen were asked to pull out into space and run up field, Jackson was one again silky smooth.
At such an important position in the NFL, Jackson is going to be a commodity when the draft arrives. If there is any sort of run on tackles in the top-15, another one or two will likely go towards the end of the first round as teams begin to toss around the idea of trading back into the first to take advantage of those fifth-year options.