Gritty Lineman Revealed as Lions’ Most Under-Appreciated Player

Jonah Jackson

Getty Jonah Jackson blocking the Bears with the Lions in 2020.

With plenty of players on the roster, it can be tough for every single person to get their due, and as a result, some players do fall through the cracks and get under-appreciated.

With the Detroit Lions as one of the most under-the-radar teams in the league, it only stands to reason how some players don’t get all of the credit they deserve. Interestingly enough, the player that might fit this title the most could be coming off easily his best season in the league.

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Offensive lineman Jonah Jackson was a Pro Bowler for the 2021-22 season. He has been a solid anchor up front for a young Detroit line, but he might also be one of the most under-appreciated players in the NFL. That’s according to NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund.

The numbers analyst took a closer look at picking out the most under-appreciated player on every roster via what she called a “context-based model.” When the process was finished, Jackson was the selection for Detroit.

As Frelund wrote, “computer vision shows that Jackson’s run blocking improved significantly over the course of the season while his pass blocking was drastically better when the Lions were able to use more balanced play-calling (not just the pass).”

Finding more of that balance could be the key toward getting Jackson some more recognition for 2022 and beyond.


Jackson Predicts Lions’ Line to Star in 2022

Even though Jackson might be underrated a bit himself, that might not be the case for long. The guard was very direct earlier this offseason when talking about his expectations for the team. As he told the media, he thinks Detroit’s group will be coming for the number one spot this season. That is to say, he thinks the team can be the best in the league up front on offense.

“G Jonah Jackson on potential of Detroit’s O-line: “I know we can be the best in the league,” Jackson said as Twentyman’s tweet showed.

It might be a bold statement by Jackson for some, but it shows the confidence the Lions have in themselves to start the year, and with good reason. The Lions have a pair of solid tackles in Decker and Sewell, an elite center in Ragnow, a Pro Bowl guard in Jackson and a player who had a very strong bounce-back 2021 season in Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Along with the depth the team has found in the likes of Evan Brown, Ryan McCollum, Matt Nelson and Tommy Kraemer, there is no reason this can’t be the case.

Though he won’t say it, Jackson himself could be a big reason this group eventually becomes the best.


Jackson Enjoying Solid Start to Lions’ Career

Underrated or not, the facts don’t lie about where Jackson could be heading for the team. He played in the Pro Bowl last season, and while he has not received any other major accolades, that doesn’t change the fact that Jackson has been a strong player for the Lions since he joined the team. Perhaps most significantly, Jackson started 16 games as a rookie and was a load up front for the Lions considering his ability to play solid football. It’s not often that the Lions have a young lineman capable of playing a starting role right off the bat while not looking out of place in the league, but that’s just what Jackson brought to the mix for the team as a rookie last season.

While he was a first-year man out of Ohio State, Jackson showed the kind of toughness and grit that could make him a fixture in the NFL and a high-level starter.

Known well or not, Jackson is a gritty player that is trying to take his game to the next level. It will be interesting to see if he can escape such lists in the near-future.

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