Atlanta should target this former Trojan in NFL Draft
Of all the positional needs that the Atlanta Falcons have, one of the things that needs to be addressed is the pass rush.
With this in mind, it would be a great move for the Atlanta Falcons to eye a former USC Trojan edge rusher who showcased huge NFL upside and potential during his time in Southern California: Drake Jackson.
At USC, Jackson showed that he had NFL-level talent, especially with his footwork and overall agility when playing on the line.
However, his draft stock dipped substantially when compared to the beginning of the season, as Jackson’s injuries and USC’s overall season in 2021 didn’t do him any favors.
This former Trojan recorded 37 tackles, five sacks, eight tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and an interception in his final season with USC.
During his career at USC, he was named to the All-Pac-12 team three straight times.
Bringing in a player like Jackson would bring much-needed help to the Atlanta Falcons’ atrocious pass rush, which was showcased on full display last season.
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons finished at the very bottom of the NFL with just 18 sacks, double digits behind the next to last Philadelphia Eagles who had 29 sacks.
Two players, T.J. Watt (22.5) and Robert Quinn (18.0), finished with more sacks than the Atlanta Falcons had as an entire defensive unit.
You get it.
Jackson has already met with the Atlanta Falcons ahead of the draft, telling Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it, “went real well,” in an article posted last month by the Atlanta newspaper.
"“The Falcons (meeting) went real well,” Jackson said. “Meeting with everyone was mind-blowing to me. From a young one seeing the NFL to being in the room with those guys, it’s a big eye-opener. Just knowing in a couple months I’ll be right there with them. The Falcons meeting went well. Real well.”"
Jackson proved to be an explosive force in crucial moments, providing key defensive stops for the Trojans in his junior year.
As of right now, Jackson is listed as a mid-second-round pick by many draft analysts and mock drafts. Depending on the pool of players available for the Atlanta Falcons with their two second-round draft picks, it would be a great move for the team to draft a playmaker like Drake Jackson to help fix their pass rush in 2022.