Defensive end Joe Jackson is among the newest additions to the Dallas Cowboys defensive line after being selected by the team in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft Saturday. Jackson was the second of three defensive linemen selected by Dallas in the draft.
Here are five things for Cowboys fans to know about Jackson as the Dallas faithful continues to become acquainted with the eight players drafted by the team last week in Nashville, Tenn.
Before being drafted, Jackson spent his entire life as a resident of South Florida. He grew up in the Miami suburb of Homestead and played high school football at Gulliver Preparatory School in nearby Coral Gables, where he excelled as a two-way starter at defensive end and tight end.
Jackson picked up numerous college offers as a 4-star prospect and the No. 16 weakside defensive end in the Class of 2016. Ultimately, he stayed local and committed to the University of Miami in January 2015. Jackson recorded at least 32 tackles in three seasons with the Hurricanes before declaring early for the draft after his junior year in 2018.
Rock you like a Hurricane
Jackson’s junior season — his last at Miami — was his most productive yet as a Hurricane. Following a 50 tackle season as a sophomore in 2017, Jackson responded with a team-leading 47 total tackles last fall while also tallying a career-high 8.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.
No single-game performance by Jackson last fall was more eye-popping than his effort during Miami’s 47-10 victory over North Carolina in September. Jackson recorded three pass breakups, but more notably had a role in three turnovers in the win — forcing two fumbles and recording a 42-yard pick six.
He can also ball
Though the gridiron is where Jackson made a name for himself at Gulliver Prep — highlighted by a 59-tackle season in 2014 — football isn’t the only sport where Jackson has experienced success. The 6-foot-7 defensive end also played as a forward on boys’ varsity basketball team. His versatility and playmaking abilities earned him Class 5A-1A Male Athlete of the Year honors from the Miami Herald during the 2014-15 school year.
The Jackson Two?
In case you didn’t hear, the Cowboys selected not one, but two former Miami Hurricanes with the last name Jackson in the fifth round of the draft. Prior to drafting Joe Jackson with the No. 165 overall pick, Dallas selected Jackson’s college teammate — cornerback Michael Jackson — at No. 158 overall. The two are not related, despite having the same college and last name in common.
And of course, Joe and Michael Jackson — the football players — aren’t the first ones with those names to rise to fame. Social media had plenty of fun with Jackson Five — or should we say Jackson “Two” — jokes once the two landed on the same team.
“Ready to go bite somebody’s chin off?”
Let’s just say the first question asked to Jackson by Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli after the defensive end’s selection was an interesting one. Jackson kept his answer simple, but the behind-the-scenes conversation shown on the Cowboys Twitter account made its rounds on social media, and likely won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
—Exceptional size and build for a player coming into the NFL. Shows good durability.
—Good strength in his base and upper body. Can set the edge and bull-rush through top tackle talent.
—Plays with good leverage for a player his height.
—Adds pressure to the pocket even when he is not getting to the quarterback.
—Had a major impact in his final season at Miami, and scouts raved about his upside and work ethic.
—Slow first step. Has to commit to a power-rush move.
—Lacks the necessary bend to be an elite edge-rusher.
—The majority of his play comes from a three-point stance. May be limited to teams that run a 4-3 defense.
—Needs to learn to counter his initial pass-rush move by using his hands and having a plan in place.
Joe Jackson has great size (6’4″, 275 pounds) and, more importantly, strength for his position. His transition to the NFL will be much more effective in a 4-3 defense with the option to kick inside on passing downs. We view him as a 4-3 end because he hasn’t shown the kind of athletic ability to be a stand-up edge-rusher.