Jackson is the ninth of the 11 Dolphins 2020 draftees to ink his deal, which will reportedly be for $13.6 million over four years.
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Who is Austin Jackson?
Left tackle Austin Jackson hails from Phoenix, Arizona, where, in high school, he was named a USA Today High School All-American in 2016. Jackson opted out of his senior year to declare for this year’s NFL Draft. The former USC Trojan was selected by the Dolphins in the first round, with the 18th overall draft pick. Ahead of the draft, the Dolphins had traded Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers in exchange for the pick.
Jackson’s grandfather and uncle both dressed in gold and cardinal red for USC, and the legacy began his career as a true freshman, appearing in all 14 games. As a sophomore, he was named the team’s starting left tackle. Jackson was named first-team All-Pac 12 at the end of his junior year, before declaring for the draft.
In between his junior and senior year, Jackson noteworthily made a major sacrifice, missing camp in the summertime to donate bone marrow to his younger sister of two years, Autumn, with whom he shares a special bond. Autumn suffers from Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a rare bone marrow syndrome. Her brother’s donation likely saved her life, as finding a donor who matches for such a unique disease can sometimes take longer than a patient’s projected life span.
In the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine this spring, Jackson ran a glowing 5.07 time, and his vertical and broad jumps were among the best in the demonstration. His fancy footwork accompanies his speed, which assists in his ability to cover a lot of ground and protect his quarterback.
The 6’5” 322-pound lineman is known as a solid anchor and extremely athletic blocker. His physical strength is mirrored in his mental technique, seen in his excellent mental recovery from occasional bad plays. Is he has one distinct weakness, it might be that he is too passionate; he has a history of overcommitting, which will occasionally set off his balance or lead to a misplaced hit.
In his 27 starts at USC, he has proven himself an aggressive defender. He is fluid in action and has a unique ability to mirror his opponents. His large frame and young age, 20, give him ample ability to continue to add good weight as he transitions into the professional sphere. His accuracy and power, particularly in his hands, make him a mean presence.
With the right coaching, Jackson has a definite shot at the starting left tackle job this season, and possibly secure himself as the franchise guy for years to come. The Dolphins have made their offensive line a huge priority this offseason, and Jackson is the latest player to contribute to the team’s massive facelift, which has included acquisitions of Ereck Flowers and fellow rookie Robert Hunt.