When Drake Jackson was listed among the San Francisco 49ers‘ inactive players heading into Week 16 despite being fully healthy, it turned more than a few heads among the fan base. Despite being a part-time player for the Niners, the rookie second-round pick out of USC had been an effective pure pass rusher on obvious downs, but because Javon Kinlaw was on a snap count, the Corona, California native found himself on the wrong side of the numbers game in favor of defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour.
In Week 17, however, Jackson was back on the field and made his presence known, using his near-83 inch wingspan to pick off a pass from Jarrett Stidham on the drive immediately following Brock Purdy’s pick to keep the 49ers in the game and re-energize the team.
Despite averaging just 21 snaps per game, Jackson has eight passes defensed to go with his interception, which is more than the rest of the Niners’ defensive linemen combined. Though he hasn’t had a sack since Week 6, Jackson’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, especially by his father, who, despite being a massive Raiders fan, loved to see his son pick off his favorite team in Week 17.
Blood Runs Deeper than Fandom for the Jacksons
Drake Jackson’s father Dennis is a big part of his professional journey; a lifelong football fan, the elder Jackson wanted his son’s birth certificate to read “Drake Jackson, University of Southern California, outside linebacker, 260 pounds,” which obviously wasn’t allowed but manifested into reality regardless almost two decades later when the four-star recruit chose SC over Washington and Arizona State.
How did the older Jackson feel to see his son pick off his favorite team in person? David Lombardi of The Athletic caught up him after the game to find out.
Drake Jackson’s dad, Dennis, is still a Raiders fan. Epic day for Dennis. He rooted for the Raiders. Then went crazy running down the aisle after a 49ers INT.
Confused fans: “Weren’t you rooting for the Raiders?”
Dennis: “Yeah, but that was my son that intercepted the ball!”
Wow, now that’s an exchange worthy of a near-million view garnering tweet. Fortunately, Dennis’ son should have plenty of opportunities to make similar plays moving forward.
Drake Jackson Comments on his Signature San Francisco 49ers Play
Speaking with 49ers sideline reporter Lindsey Pallares immediately following the game, Jackson was asked how it felt for the team to consistently find ways to overcome adversity and find a way to win in the first Battle of the Bay since 2018.
“We live for plays like this,” Jackson replied. “When our back’s against the walls, all we can do is get better and go out there and show what we do. And we just show how we come out. And we’re the best.”
In a game where the 49ers’ typically potent pass rush was held without a sack, interceptions from Jackson and Tashaun Gipson provided the pop needed to secure the victory in a back-and-forth showdown that took an extra three minutes and seven seconds past regulation to complete.