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Meet Chicago Bears Fourth-Round Pick, Safety Eddie Jackson

Chicago Bears News, NFL Draft
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The 2017 NFL Draft class was regarded as one deep and talented at cornerback and safety, so it was fitting that the Chicago Bears took a player in the fifth round with experience at both positions.

With the the 112th pick in the draft, the Bears selected defensive back Eddie Jackson from Alabama.

Here is a snapshot of what Pro Football Focus’ advanced statistics say about the newest addition to the Bears’ secondary:

THE PICK (ROUND 4, PICK 112)

  • Name: Eddie Jackson
  • College: Alabama
  • Position: Free safety, punt returner
  • Height, weight, hand size: 6-feet, 201 pounds, 9-1/4 inches

STATS TO KNOW

  • 2016 stats: 8 games, 24 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception
  • Career stats: 38 games, 126 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 9 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles
  • Pro Football Focus Prospect Ranking: 8th safety, 79th overall

HIGHLIGHTS

NFL COMBINE RESULTS 

  • Bench press: 10 reps
  • 40-yard dash: Did not participate
  • Vertical jump: Did not participate
  • Broad jump: Did not participate
  • 3-cone drill: Did not participate
  • 20-yard shuttle: Did not participate
  • 60-yard shuttle: Did not participate

THREE STRENGTHS

  • Ball skills. Jackson’s 2015 season was a dream, as he played 15 games and came down with six interceptions. Has shown good instincts in pass defense and applies them to break up and intercept passes.

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  • Athleticism. Post-surgery speed will be questioned, but a healthy Jackson proved he could play center field capably.
  • Intangibles. Jackson was the guy who set Alabama’s defense. Proved to be a versatile player with skills that made him a dynamic punt returner and a skilled defender in man coverage.

THREE WEAKNESSES

  • Does not like contact. Poor tackler. Sometimes unwilling tackler, especially in the running game.  Missed 16 of 122 tackle attempts over the last three years, according to PFF.
  • Instincts. Has a knack for making plays, but at times can find himself taking poor routes and angles to the ball or ball carrier. Still needs to make adjustments from a player who excels in man coverage to one that can be above average in a deep zone.
  • Durability. Injuries have hindered some of Jackson’s development during his college career. Tore his ACL in 2014 and suffered a season-ending leg injury in 2016. The Bears were an injury plagued bunch last season, so I’m curious to see how available Jackson is when he takes the field.

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INJURY CONCERNS

A broken leg caused Jackson’s season at Alabama to be cut short. Then, days before the NFL Draft, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Jackson had surgery to remove a screw from the surgically repaired leg. Ouch. The good news here is that Rapoport also reports Jackson will be available to resume football activities soon, including rookie mini-camps. He will be three years removed from an ACL injury he suffered in 2014.

WHERE JACKSON FITS

The Bears’ secondary struggled to come away with interceptions, bringing down only eight interceptions on the 530 pass attempts thrown their way. A healthy Jackson can help fix that problem with how he hunts down passes. His injury history is a concern, but he won’t be expected to come in right away and carry a heavy workload with free agent signee Quintin Demps and 2015 draft pick Adrian Amos entrenched as starters.

Ideally, Jackson grows into a ballhawking free safety who isn’t a complete negative against the run while also being a solid contributor as a punt return specialist.

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.