Former USC football lineman Austin Jackson shined in his first start for the Dolphins.
Two USC football rookies made their NFL debuts on Sunday with Austin Jackson making the brightest impression.
The Miami Dolphins left tackle had already proven worthy of his first-round selection by winning the starting job straight out training camp. Week 1 was his chance to further justify his potential.
Dolphins fans who might have been uncertain with the athletic-but-raw prospect got a relief-inducing display.
Austin Jackson represented USC football well in his pro debut.
Jackson made his first start against the Patriots and unfortunately, it didn’t end with his first NFL victory. New England bested the Dolphins, 21-11.
That wasn’t Jackson’s fault though. He was widely agreed to be one of the bright spots of the outing for Miami, according to Dolphins fans on Twitter at least.
“I feel as if I have to explain how good Austin Jackson was,” Alfredo Arteaga of the Three Yards Per Carry podcast wrote on Twitter. “He faced a Belichick led defense knowing they were facing a rookie LT with a RH QB. They threw the kitchen sink at him. He played a clean game. Fitzy ran himself to only sack given up.”
Neal Driscoll of the Pro Football Network had similar praise: “Austin Jackson looks so damn good. Those feet.”
More praise came from Kyle Crabbs of Dolphins Wire: “Austin Jackson has looked pretty good thus far on the edge.”
USC fans will remember Jackson as a gifted, but somewhat inconsistent presence on the Trojan offensive line. He was enough of a standout to earn an All-Pac-12 first-teamer in 2019. Hopes of an All-American future never materialized though.
Not to put the cart before the horse, but Jackson’s bright start could put him on the path to being the next Tyron Smith.
No, that’s not a prediction he’ll be a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. Rather, it’s a recognition that Jackson’s best days should be ahead of him. Smith was never an All-American for USC despite his undeniable potential. He grew into one of the top offensive linemen in the game at the pro level. Perhaps Jackson can do the same.