Lions ‘Like’ Top PAC-12 Pass Rusher During NFL Draft: Report

Drake Jackson

Getty Drake Jackson during the NFL combine in 2022.

The Detroit Lions are looking down the final stretch of preparation before the 2022 NFL draft, and thoughts have begun to shift for the team to which players they are most interested in.

For the most part, all has been quiet for the Lions ahead of the draft with regards to this, but a few names have begun to surface in the process. Perhaps not surprisingly, the defense has seen most of the attention with regard to this, given Detroit’s major needs on that side of the ball. Another player has surfaced who can give them a bit of punch at the position.

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According to Jordan Schultz, the Lions are one of the teams who have interest in USC defensive lineman Drake Jackson. Jackson has become a popular figure in the draft circuit given his ability to rush the passer, and that’s why he has caught the attention of plenty NFL teams lately.

“Keep an eye on USC Edge Drake Jackson. Versatile pass rusher who can fit into any scheme given his ability to play the run and can line up outside in a 3-4. Lions, Ravens and Patriots among the many teams who like him,” Schultz wrote in a tweet.

The Lions being interested in a player like Jackson is hardly a surprise. The rusher comes from a great program and conference, and would easily figure to be one of the top dogs in this year’s class. It’s clear that the Lions will have plenty of competition for the player, though, so they may have to prioritize him early in the draft in order to land him, perhaps in the third-round.

If that ends up being the case or playing out, it may have been a long time coming for the player and the team given the interest being shown right now.

Jackson’s College Stats & Highlights

There is no doubting the talent of Jackson whatsoever given what he has been able to do on the field for the Trojans consistently in his collegiate career. Jackson is a three-time second-team All-PAC 12 player from 2019, 2020 and 2021, showing off his ability to be consistent on the field in terms of production and pass rush. Statistically, this was the case as well, as Jackson put up 103 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles in his college career. Here’s a look at some of his best work:

Drake Jackson || USC Trojans Defensive End || 2021 HighlightsDrake Jackson 2021 season highlights. 37 Total Tackles, 8 Tackles for Loss, 5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Interception. Jackson is a projected high rounder in the 2022 NFL Draft. We do not own the copyrights to this footage, it belongs to ESPN, and their affiliates. All things shown in the video…2021-12-23T04:13:03Z

Jackson obviously is a strong player with a fast motor, and he figures to be one of the top pass rushers to come out of this draft even though he hasn’t generated a ton of hype at this point of the process.

Lions Defensive Line Could Use Draft Boost

It’s not a surprise to see the Lions linked with a defensive lineman, particularly a player of Jackson’s talent. Detroit only collected a grand total of 30 sacks in 2021, and the team has been seen as soft in the trenches for a while. The Lions have definite talent up front with Julian Okwara and brother Romeo Okwara leading the way. The Lions also locked up veteran Charles Harris this offseason, and have players who are young and on the charge in Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike. In spite of these facts, the Lions have been seen to need more depth and playmaking up front and a serious rebuild for their defensive line.

A prospect like Jackson could allow the Lions to perhaps begin to cultivate the depth they have lacked up front lately, and the kind of depth that leads to winning football on defense.

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