Alaric Jackson looks to boost his 2021 NFL Draft stock with Iowa Football
The Iowa Football program has been known for punching out top offensive line prospects into the NFL, and the 2021 NFL Draft may house one more. Left tackle Alaric Jackson decided to return for his redshirt senior this season, and now hopes to give his draft stock a boost as he enters the 2020 season.
One area that will help Jackson improve: his health.
According to The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman, Jackson never played above 70 percent after suffering a knee injury in 2019. This injury took place in September, meaning practically the whole season, Jackson was hobbling around the field for the Hawkeyes.
Jackson to be the next big named Hawkeye lineman?
More from With the First Pick
- 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Raiders 7-round mock fresh off first win in Vegas
- SEC Football: 3 2021 NFL Draft prospects who need good season
- Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and the path to fantasy stardom
- 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jets take over rights to Trevor Lawrence
- Updated standings in Tank for Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes
Just this past season, the Hawkeyes saw one of their offensive tackles in Tristan Wirfs land in the top-15 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will now look to keep Tom Brady on his feet in South Florida.
Just two years ago it was now Chicago Bears’ center James Daniels who went in the first round, with Ike Boettger landing as an undrafted free agent to the Buffalo Bills. Last year, right tackle Matt Nelson signing with the Detroit Lions as well.
Bryan Bulaga, Riley Reiff, and Brandon Scherff are now mainstays in the NFL after landing in the first round of the draft. Even former seventh rounder Austin Blythe has now seen success as a starter with the Los Angeles Rams.
Needless to say, the history of Iowa Football offensive linemen in the NFL that Jackson looks to join into. Playing healthy in 2020 will be a huge step forward for an offensive tackle who looked like a day-two pick had he declared for the draft this past Spring.
Where does Alaric Jackson stand?
While Oregon’s Penei Sewell stands out among the rest in the offensive tackle class, the rest after him if fairly up for grabs. In the mix with Clemson’s Jackson Carman, Miami of Ohio’s Tommy Doyle, and Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, Jackson has a chance to finish as a top-five offensive tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs saw the positives in Jackson’s game this past cycle before he decided to go back to school. Needless to say, there are a ton of positives to build off of moving into his redshirt senior season:
“He’s pretty sudden out of his stance, he’s got great quickness driving forward on the snap and when encouraged to reset the line of scrimmage. Provides ample power in one on one situations and will be effective in the ground game to collapse the edge. He has strong hands once his hands are set and does a nice job framing blocks when he’s pressing forward. He has some recovery strength to settle back down into his haunches and stabilize when faced with power rushes — he’s ‘country strong'” (Kyle Crabbs via The Draft Network).
He still has his work cut out for him, but with the size and length Jackson possesses at 6-6 and 320 pounds, NFL teams could fall in love with him. If he can stay healthy and dominate for the Hawkeyes, he could be the next big Iowa football offensive lineman to dominate in the NFL.