The NFL draft is a momentous occasion on a normal year but this season, we’re given the 2020 NFL Draft when there are literally no other sports or sporting events taking place. It will take place virtually, but we’ll still get the biggest offseason event in sports, in all its glory, on its promised day.
And if ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is correct, former USC Trojan offensive tackle Austin Jackson should hear his name called on the first day, in the first round.
Fowler stated that he believes six offensive tackles will go in the first round including ‘locks’ of Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton while Jackson, Ezra Cleveland and Josh Jones could even make it seven tackles selected within the first 32 picks.
Tackle is a position that is becoming harder and harder to obtain solid, above-average play at in the NFL and with the pass-first mentality of the league, tackles who can pass protect well are going to be a hot commodity. With this class being considered the strongest ever in terms of wide receivers, it’s an interesting take to say that there may be more first-round tackles than receivers but protecting your quarterback is seemingly almost as important as it is to field receivers who can haul in your quarterback’s passes.
Jackson was a stalwart in the Air Raid offense this past season, giving up very few pressures despite an incredible amount of pass-blocking snaps. He’ll likely be able to plug in right away and play valuable snaps during his rookie season with an incredibly high ‘ceiling’ as the pundits say.
He’s still young, as well, which will only improve his draft stock and he won’t hit 21 years old until after his name is called in the draft.
Whether or not he goes in the first round or the second, the fact that he’s been rumored to go within the first 32 picks really lets you know what those in the know are hearing about him. And that’s promising.
Good luck this week, Austin! We’re obviously rooting for you!