Drake Jackson may have his USC football days behind him, but the newest defender for the San Francisco 49ers just pierced his own sword to the ground and is ready for battle — as if he’s the drum major setting the tone for the Trojans.
The 61st pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, plus the 49ers’ top pick, is now expected to help set the tone along the 49ers’ trenches. The ‘Niners swooped up the coveted Trojans star with the intention that he’ll stick the dagger into opponents — especially in moments where Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead are tied up.
Now, in his first Bay Area radio interview with KNBR on Wednesday, May 4, the newest 49er defender has fired off his first warning to future opponents.
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Someone Will be ‘Unsafe’
Jackson, speaking on The Murph and Mac Show, said on the airwaves that he’s not just someone who can attack from all areas of the front line, but he prides himself in making one position group on the field unsafe.
“You can put me anywhere on the front line, and I’m going to get after them and try to make a play,” Jackson told both hosts. “It doesn’t really matter where I was on the field. As long as I was on the field, I’m always just trying to be around the ball, and making plays, and keeping the quarterback unsafe.”
In 27 starts across three seasons, Jackson produced 12.5 sacks per Sports Reference while representing the “Land of Troy.” But he comes to the Bay as more than a pass rusher — with 103 tackles and 25 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
“I love stuffing the run,” Jackson said. “It’s the same thing. It’s making a play. Making a TFL is almost like making a sack, in a way. It’s the best way to make a play in the backfield.”
There was also a term the USC defenders loved describing stops behind the line…which he aims to bring in front of the 49ers faithful.
“We always said, ‘Party in the backfield.’ That’s where I’m trying to be at,” Jackson said.
Jackson Receives Bold Predictions & High Praise From One National Film Guru
General manager John Lynch told the Bay Area media on the night Jackson was drafted (day two on April 29) that Jackson jumped off the film when evaluating the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder. Lynch, though, gave a more telling expectation of what’s the come for the 61st overall pick.
“He played in a bunch of different schemes and they moved him around a lot, so we think his best football is in front of him,” Lynch said.
But there was one area Lynch and the 49ers’ scouting department zeroed in on where Jackson led the country.
“Things such as quick disruption, something we study a lot, he was tops in the country(there),” Jackson said. “We liked the film. We think, as I mentioned, his best stuff is in front of him.”
Lynch isn’t the only fan of Jackson’s film. NFL network analyst and an ardent studier of film Brian Baldinger praised Jackson’s ability to use his hands and ability to bend in attacking the passer.
“I can’t wait to see him in a room with Nick Bosa,” Baldinger said in his breakdown. “I think the 49ers made a good pick.”
Jackson has already been warmly embraced by his newest 49er teammates — even receiving a text from Bosa and a FaceTime call with Armstead. But he’s trying to keep things professional and trying to prevent himself from “fanboying.”
One thing is certain, though: Quarterbacks and running backs are likely not going to be fanboying for the USC star the moment he delivers his first hit, tackle and sack with the 49ers. Jackson has stuck a new sword to the ground in his post Trojan days and has fired off his first warning.